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Mississippi gov vetoes part of education bill over pay plan

MGN Online

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has vetoed most of the state education budget because it would have changed a bonus pay plan for some teachers.

Posted: Jul 9, 2020 11:01 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has vetoed most of the state education budget for the new fiscal year because it would have changed a bonus pay plan for some teachers.

Republican Reeves announced that and other vetoes late Wednesday.

The education budget, House Bill 1700, would have altered a program that gives extra pay to teachers in schools that show improvement or that are consistently high-performing. Reeves wrote that 23,157 teachers would lose money they have already earned.

“This is a program that has been instrumental in improving our state’s education system,” Reeves wrote on Facebook. “It gives additional pay to teachers in schools that are highly rated or improve a letter grade. Thousands of Mississippi teachers rely on it — from Barack Obama Elementary in Jackson to Harper McCaughan Elementary in Long Beach."

He wrote that legislators did not eliminate the $26 million, but moved it to a fund that administrators control. The total increase to the fund controlled by administrators was $40 million.

“The philosophy is: it should be re-distributed throughout so that everybody gets a small piece, rather than rewarding success,” Reeves wrote.

When legislators started meeting in January, there was broad consensus that they would try to give a pay raise to teachers and teachers' assistants. Those plans were dropped after the coronavirus pandemic struck and economic damage created uncertainty about the state budget.

Reeves wrote that some legislators have sought for years to change the teacher bonus pay plan that is based on schools' performance, and he believes it was done in House Bill 1700 without a substantial debate.

“After I’ve vetoed the bill, the legislature has a chance to come back and override my veto — locking in a teacher pay cut. Or they can sustain it and fix this,” Reeves wrote. “I suspect most legislators didn’t realize that they were voting to cut teacher pay, and they will fix it.”

A special session would be delayed because many people who work in the Capitol are quarantined after being exposed to the new coronavirus. At least 26 legislators and 10 others who work in the Capitol have tested positive for COVID-19, the state health officer said Wednesday. It's possible the numbers are higher because some legislators were tested after returning to their hometowns.

The state budget year began July 1. Reeves wrote that the Department of Education will function temporarily under authority of a letter from him, backed up by a legal opinion from the attorney general, “stating that they constitutionally have to perform their duties until the legislature can fix this.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 514171

Reported Deaths: 10285
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34920557
DeSoto33270432
Hinds32652642
Jackson24876391
Rankin22516404
Lee16366245
Madison14932283
Jones14129247
Forrest13785260
Lauderdale12279324
Lowndes11314193
Lamar10663140
Pearl River9720244
Lafayette8855143
Hancock7839132
Washington7553169
Oktibbeha7216138
Monroe7036179
Pontotoc7003109
Warren6872178
Panola6768135
Neshoba6732210
Marshall6686142
Bolivar6451151
Union640898
Pike5933156
Alcorn5887107
Lincoln5533136
George510380
Prentiss505385
Tippah492783
Itawamba4857107
Scott478199
Adams4771125
Tate4765117
Leflore4736144
Copiah457095
Yazoo456692
Simpson4554117
Wayne443172
Covington434695
Sunflower4315106
Marion4279112
Coahoma4238109
Leake414090
Newton395782
Tishomingo384894
Grenada3777109
Stone365766
Jasper340866
Attala338790
Winston317892
Chickasaw316167
Clay312578
Clarke301295
Calhoun285949
Holmes271889
Smith269452
Yalobusha244247
Tallahatchie232053
Greene224749
Walthall221866
Lawrence219141
Perry213456
Amite209857
Webster206248
Noxubee188743
Montgomery181857
Carroll174941
Jefferson Davis173843
Tunica163339
Benton153139
Kemper145041
Choctaw136727
Claiborne134439
Humphreys132139
Franklin126029
Quitman107628
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845761

Reported Deaths: 16119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161862004
Mobile742411381
Madison53315732
Shelby38351369
Baldwin38104589
Tuscaloosa36052641
Montgomery34492781
Lee25590263
Calhoun22598518
Morgan22459406
Etowah20026518
Marshall18790316
Houston17741425
St. Clair16904358
Limestone16153219
Cullman16067303
Elmore15912294
Lauderdale14991306
Talladega14209299
DeKalb12985269
Walker12067380
Blount10729192
Autauga10526157
Jackson10170194
Coffee9425192
Colbert9341208
Dale9024192
Tallapoosa7273201
Russell708865
Chilton7042170
Escambia6956143
Covington6943195
Franklin6338108
Chambers5785142
Marion5413130
Dallas5295209
Pike5123109
Clarke484886
Lawrence4831129
Winston4780110
Geneva4643136
Bibb434594
Barbour369980
Butler3439100
Marengo342393
Monroe337466
Randolph334867
Pickens333988
Fayette330085
Henry320766
Hale318489
Cherokee318363
Crenshaw260777
Washington256952
Cleburne254560
Lamar251953
Clay251169
Macon245064
Conecuh193162
Coosa185547
Lowndes178268
Wilcox177638
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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