TUITION RESTRAINT: Connecticut
higher education authorities endorsed a 2.5 percent tuition increase for the state's public universities, the smallest since 2000, to make up for a proposed $25 million cut in state funding, according to The Connecticut Mirror
. Only two students spoke at the university system's Board of Trustees meeting, both of whom, somewhat surprisingly, said the increase was too low: They said class sizes would increase and make it difficult for them to find a spot in overbooked courses. Connecticut is a real outlier this year when it comes to tuition. Regents at the University of Arizona
are dealing with
a 22 percent proposed increase, and in Florida
, university leaders and lawmakers are considering
15 percent increases.
RESTRICTING CHARTERS: Also in Connecticut
, Governor Dannel Malloy is bucking a national trend by opposing a plan to make it easier for students to attend charter and magnet schools, The Mirror
reports. Under proposals in other states, student funding would follow a child who leaves public school to enroll in a charter or magnet program. That idea has been received enthusiastically by governors in New Jersey
But Malloy's budget director, Benjamin Barnes, says the plan might take away too much money from strapped public schools. State officials acknowledge that Connecticut's education funding formula needs to be changed, but Malloy wants to delay changes until next year, preferring to focus his energy on this year's budget discussions.
CONSOLIDATION IN ARKANSAS: The Arkansas
House Education Committee approved a bill to undo a state law that automatically dissolves school districts with fewer than 350 students, the Arkansas News Bureau
reports. The bill's sponsor, state Representative Jon Hubbard, said his proposal was a response to last year's annexation of a small but high-performing district in northeast Arkansas into another district. His bill would exempt from consolidation all districts that perform well academically and are fiscally sound, regardless of size. The consolidation law was enacted in 2003 following a ruling of the state Supreme Court.
TEACHER WALKOUTS: Michigan
legislators are considering new rules that would strengthen a ban on strikes by teachers. The move comes in response to the Michigan Education Association's call for members to vote on a possible strike in the near future. Although teacher strikes are illegal in Michigan and teachers can be fined for every day they stay away from work, the penalty has rarely been enforced, according to the Detroit News
. The newly proposed changes could revoke teaching licenses for those who go on strike. Michigan teachers have clashed with Governor Rick Snyder over his plan to cut education funding by $470 per student.