Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry vetoed SB 834, by Sen. John Ford, R-Bartlesville and Rep. Tad Jones, R-Claremore. The bill creates the School District Empowerment Program to be administered by the State Department of Education. The bill requires the department to exempt any school district that participates in the program from all statutory requirements and department rules from which charter schools are exempt, except that the district will continue to be required to enroll all students who are residents of the district.
Henry said in his veto message.
"Senate Bill 834 would essentially turn back the clock on much of that important progress and weaken landmark reforms by allowing school administrators to create their own rules and ignore more rigorous state standards, including, but not limited to, the smaller class size mandates championed by former Gov. Henry Bellmon and Oklahoma voters in the historic passage of House Bill 1017 in 1990. SB 834 would also endanger such worthy programs as full-day kindergarten and alternative education in addition to making optional such critical personnel as school librarians and counselors."