Governors Pitch Workforce Development Ideas

Career College Central summary:

  • After years of state cuts to education, governors of both parties are presenting lawmakers with long wish lists for schools. In their State of the State speeches, some governors pressed for broad education spending increases.
  • Republican Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who is seeking re-election, wants to increase education funding by $547 million, which he says would be the largest single-year increase in K-12 funding in seven years. Critics charge that years of state budget cuts have led to shorter school years, teacher furloughs and higher property taxes.
  • Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is also seeking a second term, is asking lawmakers to increase per-pupil funding by $223, along with an additional $100 million for higher education to cap tuition increases at 6 percent. State lawmakers made deep cuts to the K-12 school system during the recession and last year, the state’s voters overwhelmingly defeated a ballot measure to increase the state income tax to put an additional $950 million into the schools.  
  • Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, wants an additional $278 million for K-12 education, which he said various school districts could use to pay for smaller class sizes, create early childhood programs and bring back summer school. As in other states, lawmakers in Missouri slashed school spending during the recession and funding in many areas of education has not returned to prerecession levels.
  • But governors’ wish lists are just that until — and if — lawmakers act on their proposals. And this year, with 36 governor’s seats up for election and most legislators, politics could complicate education efforts. In Hawaii, for example, Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who is seeking re-election, drew criticism for his State of the State address from critics including state Sen. David Ige, who is running against Abercrombie in the Democratic primary.

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