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Budget Update: NE, TN Budgets Fund New Efforts to Boost K-12 STEM

May 28, 2015

Over the past few months, SSTI has followed proposals issued by governors in their budget requests, State of the State Addresses, Inaugural Speeches and other events. Now that many state legislatures have begun approving budgets, the SSTI Digest will check on the status of these proposals, and examine the state of technology-based economic development funding in the states. This week, we review actions in Tennesse and Nebraska.

Tennessee
Governor Bill Haslam signed a $33.8 billion FY16 budget (HB 1375) without the $2.8 billion the governor had proposed for the Insure Tennessee health insurance program. The budget, however, does provide $114.8 million for the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), including $30 million for TNInvestco tax credits. Within the DECD budget, Business Development programs are allocated $10.8 million from the state's operating budget, while Innovation Programs would receive $237,000.

Also in the DECD operating budget, $1.6 million would be available for Economic Development District Grants, and $19 million would be available for Community and Rural Development. Additional funding for these programs is provided through departmental revenues and federal aid funds.

The FY16 budget includes $1.5 million for the creation of the Tennessee Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Innovation Network (TSIN). The measure launching the network (SB 453) was approved May 20. Under the legislation STEM innovation hubs would be established in rural areas of the state and in Northwest Tennessee to provide a middle school curriculum on STEM careers.

Nebraska
Governor Pete Ricketts approved a $8.7 billion 2015-2017 biennial budget with significant increases for K-12 and higher education. The K-12 school aid school formula would increase by 4.3 percent in the 2015-16 fiscal year, and then 0.8 percent the following year. The University of Nebraska, state colleges and community colleges would receive a 3 percent funding increase.

The budget includes $250,000 in FY 2015-16 and in FY 2016-17 for the Nebraska Developing Youth Talent Initiative, a pilot project that funds a public-private partnership to create a new career and vocational training program preparing middle and high school students for skilled jobs in manufacturing and technology sectors. The Department of Economic Development will select industry partners or consortia from the manufacturing or information technology sectors each year to participate. These partners will help engage seventh and eighth graders in STEM curriculum.

Nebraska, Tennesseestate budget, k-12