passes over veto
Democrats approve a measure
to disburse 70% of DOE funds
to schools and principals
Majority Democrats in the Legislature voted yesterday to override Gov. Linda Lingle's veto of a wide-ranging education reform plan that the Republican governor had asked lawmakers to revise before she would approve it.
The override came after majority members overturned two of Lingle's vetoes Friday.
The override of the education plan veto fell along party lines: 20-4 in the Senate and 36-15 in the House.
"What the governor is saying is no reform is better than what was embodied in this bill," said House Education Chairman Roy Takumi (D, Pearl City-Pacific Palisades).
Republican lawmakers agreed with Lingle's characterization of the bill, which she previously had called "fake reform."
"I think we can do better," said Rep. David Pendleton (R, Maunawili-Kaneohe).
The Democrats' reform plan would disburse 70 percent of all education funds directly to schools and principals and create new "school community councils" that would share in the decision-making at each school.
Funds would be distributed under a "weighted student formula" starting in 2006 that would target funding to schools whose students face the greatest educational, social and economic challenges.
In her veto message, Lingle said she would consider Democrats' reform plan if they revised it to include five key changes, especially one that makes the new school councils advisory only, with no authority over principals.
Lingle also asked lawmakers to phase in her proposal to grant principals control of 90 percent of school funds; give charter schools "a fair share" of funding for operations and facilities; establish performance standards for which principals would be held accountable; and implement the weighted student formula for the 2005-2006 academic year.
She said she would agree to a revision even if it did not include her main reform proposal: a constitutional amendment to let voters decide whether to create locally elected school boards.
Legislative leaders said some of Lingle's proposed changes are being considered in separate legislation that could still be approved before Thursday's scheduled adjournment of the 2004 session.