Election 2008 Roundup

by Katie O’Neal

The commercials are now off the air, the yard signs are in the garbage and President-elect Obama prepares to take the oath of office on January 20, 2009.  While the economy and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will likely delay any significant changes in educational policy in the immediate short-term, many electoral changes will take place within the states in which we work.  Here are some highlights:

North Carolina

  • Lt. Governor Beverly Perdue was elected the state’s first female governor.  Governor-elect Perdue, Lt. Governor-elect Walter Dalton, and June Atkinson, who won re-election as State Superintendent of Public Instruction, are all supporters of our work.  The House and Senate in NC continue to be controlled by Democrats.

Oklahoma

  • Republicans continue to hold their majority in the state House with 61 seats (40 seats are held by Democrats), however the state Senate is now majority Republican also.  (Twenty-six seats are Republican and only 22 are Democratic.)

South Carolina

  • Republicans continue to maintain their majorities in both the state House and Senate along with Republican Governor Mark Sanford.  State Superintendent Jim Rex, a Democrat, was elected in 2006 and continues to show many signs of positive support for the work of the Institute.

Post Election Issue #1

The most pressing issue for all newly elected officials is that of the economy and its impact on state funding priorities.  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that at least 41 states are facing shortfalls in their budgets for this and/or next year; and more than half the states have already cut spending, used reserves, or raised revenues in order to adopt a balanced budget.

While many states were planning budget cuts within fiscal year 2010, many are forcing serious budget cuts even now.  Current estimates are that mid-year gaps total $24.3 billion – but these will almost certainly widen as the continuing economic turmoil causes revenues to decrease.

The 31 states facing mid-year shortfalls are Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Stay tuned for more details on implications of November’s historic election and its impact on the work of All Kinds of Minds.  As President-elect Obama chooses a new Secretary of Education, Congressional committees take shape and the nature of the national domestic agenda forms within early 2009, we’ll continue to update you on details of interest and support for our work together.  We have forwarded to our sales and delivery team a more detailed roundup that’s of interest to our specific designated territories.  If you would like more information or have specific input for our work – please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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