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.

Confirmed Cases: 98190

Reported Deaths: 2969
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7189161
DeSoto569464
Harrison394175
Jackson358570
Rankin337280
Madison334190
Lee293572
Forrest254275
Jones252780
Washington227879
Lafayette221240
Lauderdale2078126
Bolivar187370
Oktibbeha181952
Lamar176237
Lowndes160858
Neshoba1599104
Panola151631
Sunflower149146
Leflore143882
Warren141850
Pontotoc130116
Monroe125369
Pike124954
Copiah119933
Scott118027
Coahoma117530
Lincoln112353
Marshall111821
Grenada110136
Holmes110060
Yazoo106733
Simpson105847
Tate101938
Union101224
Leake96538
Adams94937
Wayne91521
Pearl River91453
Prentiss88418
Marion87537
Itawamba85921
Alcorn83411
Covington83223
George78513
Tallahatchie78324
Newton78124
Winston74619
Tishomingo71039
Tippah70518
Chickasaw69524
Attala67225
Clarke61149
Walthall60426
Clay59919
Hancock59822
Jasper58415
Noxubee55816
Smith55115
Calhoun52912
Tunica50015
Montgomery47020
Claiborne46516
Yalobusha44414
Lawrence43914
Perry43221
Quitman3905
Greene38917
Stone38013
Humphreys37715
Jefferson Davis34711
Amite34210
Webster33913
Carroll33112
Wilkinson30818
Kemper29115
Sharkey26714
Jefferson2439
Benton2333
Franklin1993
Choctaw1876
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 138162

Reported Deaths: 2405
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson20221352
Mobile13558295
Tuscaloosa9029118
Montgomery8894187
Madison800580
Shelby616450
Lee601761
Baldwin564052
Marshall398345
Etowah357545
Calhoun356944
Morgan334929
Houston295421
Elmore273948
DeKalb246121
St. Clair237937
Walker236987
Talladega219030
Limestone215720
Cullman192220
Dallas179926
Franklin179430
Autauga179127
Russell17903
Lauderdale175934
Colbert168426
Blount162915
Escambia162024
Jackson161112
Chilton160930
Dale141844
Covington141628
Coffee13936
Pike122011
Chambers117942
Tallapoosa117385
Clarke110916
Marion97629
Butler91740
Barbour8967
Winston75112
Marengo72820
Pickens67215
Randolph67213
Bibb66411
Lowndes65927
Hale65328
Geneva6505
Lawrence63625
Cherokee62013
Bullock61015
Clay5929
Monroe5928
Washington56012
Crenshaw54532
Perry5436
Conecuh53811
Wilcox53211
Henry5145
Macon48318
Fayette47311
Sumter43419
Cleburne4085
Lamar3822
Choctaw35212
Greene30615
Coosa1743
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