Friday News Roundup: Week of May 30-June 3

Texas Senate panel OKs school bill over objections

New Jersey Senate Democrats debate next moves on state budget

Iowa Republican lawmakers make new budget proposal

Wealthy Ohio schools get most budget relief under Senate plan

Texas Senate panel OKs school bill over objections
Texas lawmakers are considering cuts to K-12 public education this week in a special session called by Governor Rick Perry after Democrats killed a school funding bill with a filibuster. The measure, which would cut approximately $4 billion – 6 percent per district – in K-12 funding in fiscal year 2012 that is currently provided under the existing budget law, passed the Senate Finance Committee and will be voted on by the full Senate before being sent to the House Appropriations Committee and then the House floor. More here…

New Jersey Senate Democrats debate next moves on state budget
Following a New Jersey Supreme Court decision that ordered the state to provide an additional $500 million to low-income schools, state lawmakers are discussing how that funding should be distributed. A budget proposal issued by Republican Governor Chris Christie before the court’s decision does not include the additional funding for schools. Senate Democrats are now debating whether to introduce their own budget or simply to insert the new funding into Christie’s budget. The deadline for passage of a balanced budget is this month. More here…

Iowa Republican lawmakers make new budget proposal
Iowa Republicans are making overtures to Democrats with a new two-year budget proposal. The plan would provide a two percent increase in state aid to K-12 schools in the second year of the budget, and preschool programs would continue to operate at current funding levels. The proposal comes after a heated debate in which Republicans pressed for preschool reforms that would include charging tuition for participants based on parents’ incomes. The Republican-controlled House will debate the plan next Tuesday before sending it to the Democratic-controlled Senate. More here…

Wealthy Ohio schools get most budget relief under Senate plan
The Ohio state legislature’s fiscal year 2012 budget proposal will restore K-12 education funding that would have been cut under Republican Governor Kasich’s two-year plan.  The budget proposal has already passed the House; it is now in the Senate, where lawmakers are adding money back to education programs to ensure that all districts receive funding equivalent to fiscal year 2011 levels. Wealthy districts, which faced the deepest cuts under the governor’s plan, are receiving the bulk of the newly-inserted funds. Legislators have not yet determined whether school reforms, including a teacher merit-pay proposal, will be included in the final language. More here… 

Author:

Clare McCann is the deputy director for federal higher education policy with New America's Education Policy program. She previously served as a senior adviser on higher education policy at the U.S. Department of Education.