States State of the States

State of the States 2011: D.C., Tennessee

April 05, 2011 1 min read

For complete coverage of this year’s governors’ speeches, check out State of the States 2011.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) • March 28

The freshman mayor, in his State of the District address, said he wants to create a “holistic education continuum” for infants through adulthood. Education is a challenge at the root of high unemployment in the city, he said.

Mayor Gray noted in his speech that he recently appointed Kaya Henderson, a deputy of former Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, to be the new chief of Washington’s 45,600-student school system. He also said the city would continue its work to bring down special education costs. The school system paid $150 million in private school tuition and $93 million in special education transportation during the last school year, the mayor said in his address.

As with many states, the District of Columbia must cope with a difficult budget environment. The nation’s capital is facing a $312 million shortfall for fiscal 2012, out of a budget of approximately $5 billion.

—Christina A. Samuels

TENNESSEE

Gov. Bill Haslam (R) • March 14

Gov. Haslam’s first State of the State address presented a $30.2 billion budget for fiscal 2012 that would boost K-12 education spending by $63.4 million while trimming $20.2 million, or about 2 percent, from postsecondary education.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is proposing to boost K-12 spending in fiscal year 2012, and also is seeking to give teachers a 1.6 percent raise.

The governor plans to cut the jobs of 1,180 state employees, about 90 percent from attrition and those hired through the federal economic-stimulus law, as aid from that source comes to an end. The remaining workers, including teachers, would see a 1.6 percent raise, their first in four years.

But Mr. Haslam also voiced support for a bill to delay tenure decisions until five years after a teacher is hired, up from three years, in order to include peer observations and data on student growth from the state’s value-added model. He also called for state education officials to streamline paperwork for teachers, asked lawmakers to lift the state’s 90-operator cap on charter schools, and pledged to support paying for maintenance that had been delayed in schools and other state buildings.

The governor followed up his push for education and other budget priorities in a second address, on March 22, in which he cited examples from a statewide listening tour.

—Sarah D. Sparks

A version of this article appeared in the April 06, 2011 edition of Education Week as State of the States

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