Legislative Update

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The following is a summary of governors' education proposals for fiscal 2002. The figures for the state budget and for precollegiate education spending include money for state education administration, but not federal, flow-through dollars. Percentage increases are based on rounded numbers, and estimated enrollment reflects the state's projected public school enrollment for 2001-02, unless otherwise noted. Depending on the state, figures may or may not include prekindergarten spending and enrollment.


Governor: Bill Owens (R)

Proposed FY 2002 state budget: $5.39 billion

Proposed FY 2002 K-12 budget: $2.66 billion

FY 2001 K-12 budget: $2.53 billion

Proposed percent change K-12 budget: +5.1 percent

Estimated K-12 enrollment: 725,000


  • Governor's budget proposal includes $189 million to fully cover inflation and enrollment increases, as well as $2.5 million to provide transportation tokens enabling low-income students in poorly performing schools to commute to other public schools. Tokens could be used by parents to pay for public or private transportation for their children.
  • Following last fall's voter approval of constitutional amendment requiring 1 percent annual growth in spending on public schools for 10 years, Mr. Owens proposes using new money for reducing class sizes in grades K-3.
  • Also proposes $100 million over four years for full-day kindergarten, new textbooks, school improvement grants, and teacher-pay incentives, which would include merit bonuses for outstanding teachers and recruitment bonuses for teachers of mathematics, science, and special education.


Governor: Dirk Kempthorne (R)

Proposed FY 2002 state budget: $3.28 billion

Proposed FY 2002 K-12 budget: $1.34 billion

FY 2001 K-12 budget: $1.22 billion

Proposed percent change K-12 budget: +9.8 percent

Estimated K-12 enrollment:245,226*


  • Gov. Kempthorne proposes spending $8.5 million in one-time funds to help buy new textbooks and other curriculum materials, and $6 million in ongoing funds from general education budget to continue 3-year-old program that provides each of state's 90 school districts with a social worker.

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne

  • Governor calls for $33 million in fiscal 2002 to provide 5.5 percent increase in base teacher salaries, and $82 million increase in general education fund, which does not include money from local property taxes, state endowment funds, and tobacco-settlement money.
  • Mr. Kempthorne also proposes $3.5 million in continuing funding to provide 85 counselors statewide to work with public school students who have emotional disabilities, as well as $1.4 million in one-time aid and $1.45 million in ongoing funding for schools to create their own "safe schools" programs that include such features as character education.


Governor: Ronnie Musgrove (D)

Proposed FY 2002 state budget: $3.66 billion

Proposed FY 2002 K-12 budget: $1.53 billion

FY 2001 K-12 budget: $1.44 billion

Proposed percent change K-12 budget: + 6.3 percent

Estimated enrollment: 497,000


  • In tight budget year, Gov. Musgrove wants to make education a priority, calling for $22.4 million in fiscal 2002 to increase teacher pay as part of plan to reach current Southeast average within five years. Legislators have proposed similar increase, but governor also wants lawmakers to lift existing requirement that state revenue grow by 5 percent each year before the legislature can consider granting teacher raises.
  • Governor wants to spend $2.3 million on school technology, for both equipment and training.
  • He also wants laws to require all district superintendents to be appointed rather than elected, and to require businesses to allow workers to use "family leave" time for parent-teacher conferences.


Governor: Mike O. Johanns (R)

Proposed FY 2002 state budget: $3.7 billion

Proposed FY 2002 pre-K-12 budget: $837 million

FY 2001 pre-K-12 budget: $737 million

Proposed percent change pre-K-12 budget: +13.6 percent

Estimated pre-K-12 enrollment: 320,158


  • Nebraska is entering first year of biennial budget in July, and governor proposes spending $837 million in fiscal 2002 and $877.5 million in fiscal 2003. Stressing state tradition of local control over precollegiate education, Mr. Johanns wants schools to receive more than $200 million in new money to spend on their own priorities within designated programs.
  • Governor proposes $3 million increase over two years to expand early- childhood projects overseen by state education department and state's health and human services system.
  • To attract more teachers to Nebraska, Gov. Johanns wants $5.4 million over two years to give loans to education students who agree to work in private or public schools in state. He also proposes another $500,000 over two years for $2,500 annual salary bonuses for teachers who earn certification from National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.


Governor: John H. Hoeven (R)

Proposed FY 2002 state budget: $2.34 billion

Proposed FY 2002 K-12 budget: $394 million

FY 2001 K-12 budget: $376 million

Proposed percent change K-12 budget: +4.8 percent

Estimated K-12 enrollment: 106,000


  • Gov. Hoeven proposes a $3,500 raise for teachers over next two years to combat a growing teacher shortage, at a cost of approximately $50 million over biennium.
  • Spending plan includes 10 percent increase in aid to local districts for special education.


Governor: Rick Perry (R)

Proposed FY 2002-03 biennial state budget: $108.2 billion

Proposed FY 2002-03 biennial pre-K-12 budget: $32.3 billion

FY 2000-01 biennial pre-K-12 budget: $31.2 billion

Proposed percent change biennial pre-K-12 budget: +3.5 percent

Estimated pre-K-12 enrollment: 3.8 million


  • Gov. Perry's proposed education budget for fiscal 2002-03 biennium would provide additional $150 million, for total of $1.3 billion, toward school construction and repair.
  • Two-year budget includes $28.9 million to improve mathematics instruction for 5th through 8th graders and another $12.5 million to put "master" math teachers in Texas schools. It would also add $104.3 million, for total of $586.5 million, to pay for initiative to improve literacy in the early grades.
  • Budget provides for increase of $36.6 million in aid for school technology, bringing total spending on technology over two years to $121.4 million
  • Governor supports changes in state law and constitution that would allow an estimated $679 million annually to go to raise teacher salaries or pay for school employees' health insurance. Money would come from capital gains in existing education trust fund that currently allows interest-only spending.

*Figure is for 2000-01 enrollment.

Vol. 20, Issue 20, Page 18

Published in Print: January 31, 2001, as Legislative Update
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