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Friday News Roundup: Week of January 14-18

Published:  January 18, 2013

Lindsey Tepe | Clare McCann

Brewer: Make performance part of formula for Arizona school funding

Public universities want more state funding, improved relationship with New Hampshire lawmakers

Nevada state funding increase may not cut Clark County class sizes

Governor Mike Pence, Indiana House GOP seek vouchers, pre-kindergarten aid

Brewer: Make performance part of formula for Arizona school funding
During her ‘State of the State’ address, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer called for a change in school funding allocations. Brewer’s proposal would adjust the state’s school funding formula to include school performance and student outcomes. Schools with positive outcomes or year-over-year improvement would receive additional funds on top of their base formula funding. In fiscal year 2013, Arizona allocated over $3.6 billion for its Department of Education; her administration’s proposed fiscal year 2014 budget is expected soon, but no figures for the new funding have been offered. Brewer argued that the change would improve school accountability, moving from the state’s traditional enrollment-based funding formula to one that reflects schools’ quality. At this time, no details have been provided for how this would be accomplished, but additional details will likely be included in her proposed 2014 budget. More here…

Public universities want more state funding, improved relationship with New Hampshire lawmakers
The University System of New Hampshire is trying to increase state support for higher education. In the state’s 2012-2013 biennial budget, the university system’s fiscal year 2012 funding was cut in half to $51 million, accounting for just 5.6 percent of their total revenue in that year. During a House Finance Committee hearing this week, a panel of university officials – including the chancellor of the university system as well as the presidents of Granite State College, Keene State College and Plymouth State University – all appeared to ask for increased funding. The university officials have offered to freeze tuition at the four colleges for the next two years if the state agrees to restore funding to $100 million a year in this fiscal year 2014 budget.  The state’s community colleges, having lost about one-fifth of their state funding in the last budget, are also seeking more money from the legislature. A top university official, speaking during the hearing, also recognized the need for increased partnership with state lawmakers to encourage reinvestment in public universities in the state of New Hampshire. More here…

Nevada state funding increase may not cut Clark County class sizes
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval proposed a nearly $136 million increase to the state’s K-12 education funding this year. Under the plan, about $47 million would be dedicated to an expansion of full-day kindergarten and to providing programs for English language learner students. A larger portion of the funding – about $89 million – would increase the state’s formula payments to school districts from $5,374 per student in the current fiscal year to $5,697 by fiscal year 2015. The nearly 6 percent increase in per-pupil funding could mean about $60 million more for Clark County School District. CCSD, which currently has about 35 students in fourth through twelfth grade classrooms, would have enough funding to hire about 400 teachers; the additional hires would reduce class sizes by about one student per classroom. Clark County School District, however, is also currently involved in legal proceedings regarding potential pay raises for 17,000 of the district’s teachers, a $50 million cost. If the teachers union wins the arbitration, any additional funding approved by the legislature could instead be redirected to salary increases. More here…

Governor Mike Pence, Indiana House GOP seek vouchers, pre-kindergarten aid
A new education spending push by Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Republican leaders in the state House of Representatives would expand the state’s school voucher program and promote preschool attendance. The voucher proposal would eliminate a restriction that says students must attend at least one year of public school before claiming a voucher, and would increase the amount available per student. An expansion of the program could make it far more costly, according to some lawmakers in the state Senate. Democrats in the legislature have objected to the voucher proposal, saying that it amounts to leaving public schools behind after a $300 million cut to their budgets only a few years ago. The preschool proposal included in the education package would provide a dollar-for-dollar match to contributors to a preschool scholarship fund for 3- and 4-year-old Indianans. A public-private preschool partnership could buttress – or overlap with – a $7 million pilot preschool program for as many as 1,000 children, introduced by another Republican lawmaker earlier this week. More here…

 

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