May 21, 2003

The Honorable Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr.
Senate President
State House
Annapolis MD 21401

Dear Mr. President:

In accordance with Article II, Section 17 of the Maryland Constitution, today I have vetoed Senate Bill 558 - Education - Study Commission on Educators' Time and Paperwork.

Senate Bill 558 establishes a 16-member Study Commission on Teachers' Time and Paperwork to: (1) conduct a survey on workload, administrative tasks, and other intrusions on time that detract from teaching and learning; (2) analyze best practices used in other states; (3) analyze the benefits of a statewide individualized education program (IEP) form; and (4) pursue any other strategies to reduce paperwork and intrusions on time. The commission must report its findings and recommendations by December 31, 2003.

Teachers spend a considerable amount of time doing administrative tasks. That is a fact. The reason for my veto is that the Superintendent of Schools and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) already recognize that workload is one of many factors that impact classroom instruction. Moreover, they have implemented a number of initiatives with the goal of improving teacher quality, including the Teacher Quality Workgroup, the Teacher Preparation Task Force for Special Education, and the Statewide IEP Task Force. Finally, a task force already has issued a report regarding the feasibility of a statewide IEP form. Currently, MSDE is acting on the Task Force's recommendations. Therefore, Senate Bill 558 is unnecessary, duplicative, and an inefficient use of time and resources.

For the above-stated reasons, I have vetoed Senate Bill 558.

Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.