Last Thursday, we reported to you that Gov. Reeves had created an unnecessary crisis by vetoing funding for public schools with the start of school just weeks away.
Recent events have caused speculation that the veto was a politically motivated stunt, after the governor’s initial explanation was proven baseless.
Here’s what we know (and what we need you to do)…
Gov. Reeves threw educators into turmoil when he vetoed funding for teacher salaries, special education, classroom supplies, and the day-to-day operation of public schools – while protecting vouchers for private school tuition. See other details here.
Reeves claimed the veto was needed to provide funding for the School Recognition Program, but that wasn’t true. Legislators had announced publicly and informed Reeves that they intended to make a deficit appropriation for that purpose, a common legislative practice. It was crystal clear that no veto was needed.
The new fiscal year began July 1, and schools have no state funding with which to budget and plan for an unimaginably difficult school year. Legislative leaders tell us that they can fix this quickly, but only if they can get back to the Capitol. That requires a special session, which only the governor can call. That leaves the Legislature – and public schools – at the mercy of Gov. Reeves.
Reeves and the legislative leadership have been at odds all year, with the Legislature gaining the upper hand repeatedly. They managed a veto-proof vote to deny Reeves appropriation authority over CARES Act funding. Ditto on the flag vote. They reined in his beloved private school voucher program. And Reeves complained bitterly that the Legislature’s extension of the 2020 Legislative Session caused him to work through the July 4 holiday weekend to meet the 5-day bill signing deadline.
In a new twist yesterday, Gov. Reeves told reporters that, because schools are constitutionally mandated and now have no budget, he holds the reins over school funding until he decides to call the Legislature back to the Capitol.
Was the veto political payback or a way to signal that Reeves, ultimately, is in control?
Regardless of the reason, enough is enough.
Please ask Gov. Reeves to call a special session as soon as safely possible so that our legislators can get public schools the budgets they rely on.
Gov. Tate Reeves’ Office: 601.359.3150
Teachers and school leaders face daunting challenges as they race to restructure classrooms and purchase the protective gear, supplies, and computer devices necessary to keep students and teachers safe and students learning in the midst of a raging pandemic. Please give Gov. Reeves a call today and let him know that schools need their full budgets ASAP. We need a special session sooner, not later, and these political shenanigans need to stop!