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Bellmon Approves Education-Funding

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After threatening a "pocket veto'' for several weeks, Gov. Henry Bellmon of Oklahoma last week signed a supplemental education-appropriations bill but deleted more than $1.4 million from the $5.5-million measure.

The funds had originally been included in this year's $809.3-million education package. But Mr. Bellmon, a Republican, used his line-item veto last month to eliminate the $5.5 million, contending that it was for "pork barrel'' projects. He then proposed that the legislature allocate the funds to rebuild a prison destroyed in a riot in May.

The legislature returned for a one-day session on July 12 but failed to muster the votes needed to override the Governor's veto. It then voted to place the $5.5 million in vetoed funds into the school-funding formula.

Mr. Bellmon last week eliminated $1.2 million that was to have reimbursed counties for revenues lost under a homestead tax-exemption measure, and $218,000 that was to have reimbursed schools, colleges, and vocational-technical centers for the cost of financial audits conducted last year.

The $809.3-million school measure represents a 6.4 percent increase from the $778.4 million appropriated last year.

Lawmakers ordered districts that will receive additional funding under the measure to use at least 75 percent of those funds to raise salaries for teachers and support staff.--KG

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