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SAGE Funding Clears Major Hurdle in Legislature

The highly successful SAGE class size reduction program won a major victory in the Legislature Tuesday (June 3, 1997).

The budget-writing Joint Finance Committee voted, 10-6, to spend $7.1 million to expand the Student Achievement Guarantee in Education program to 2nd and 3rd grades over the next two years.

Although the Legislature previously made a commitment to expand the program, the governor's budget provided no funding to do so. The $7.1 million in extra SAGE money now becomes part of the budget that goes to the Senate and Assembly.

John Stocks, WEAC's director of government relations, credited members who contacted their legislators in the last few weeks to fight for expanded SAGE funding. However, he said members must continue to lobby for the program because the money still must survive debate in the Senate and Assembly.

The SAGE program provides funding for schools in low-income areas to reduce class size in the primary grades. It is currently operating in kindergarten and 1st grade classes in 30 schools in 21 districts.

Under the Joint Finance vote, the $7.1 million would come from state aid for other school districts.

Posted June 4, 1997