OKLAHOMA CITY -Governor Keating's veto of SB 1100 not only killed a series of school reforms, it also wiped out some $6 million in education funding --the entire budget for mandated teacher training programs-- a Senate budget leader discovered today. Ironically, part of that money would have been used to finance "Great Expectations," a teacher training program championed by Governor Keating.
The veto could ultimately force teachers to dip into their own pockets to pay for required training courses.
"On the surface, it looked like the Governor's veto just wiped out school reforms, but in reality, it also eliminated all the funding for existing teacher training programs and new initiatives," said Senator Kelly Haney, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
"In effect, Governor Keating has destroyed our teaching training efforts and cut the education budget by another $6 million. This is going to put all of our teachers in a very difficult position because they have to complete those training programs every year."
Even though SB 1100 was not an appropriations bill, its provisions directed the way money should be invested in teacher training initiatives. At the Governor's direction, the Office of Finance has refused to turn over the related funds to the State Department of Education for distribution to local districts, listing the money as vetoed funding. The end result is a $6 million dollar cut to the education budget for the coming fiscal year.
"That figure doesn't represent just a budget increase, it represents every dollar allocated for teacher training in the public schools. The program that was in place last year and in previous years has been stripped of funding by the Governor's veto," said Senator Haney.
The veto will have serious ramifications in school districts across the state because teachers are required to take annual training and development courses to maintain their certification.
"Teachers have to take the training, otherwise they lose their certification to teach. This isn't a luxury, it's a 'must-do' program," said Senator Haney.
"Basically, Governor Keating has handed down another unfunded mandate. Teachers will either have to dig into their own pockets to pay for the mandated training or they'll lose their certifications and possibly their jobs.
"It's going to be pretty tough for teachers to swallow one more out-of-pocket expense, especially after Governor Keating wiped out the pay raise for veteran instructors when he vetoed SB 1100."
One of the teacher training programs eliminated by Governor Keating's veto was "Great Expectations," a program advocated by the Governor in his State of the State address and throughout the legislative session.
"This is another case of Governor Keating vetoing the very program that he asked for. Either Governor Keating misunderstood the ramifications of his veto or he simply wanted to inflict another blow on public education. No matter how he tries to explain or justify it, it's still erratic and irresponsible behavior on the Governor's part," said Senator Haney.