Gov. McDonnell vetoes physical education bill

Press release from Office of Governor Bob McDonnell

RICHMOND, VA - Governor Bob McDonnell has vetoed legislation (SB 966) that would force local school districts to provide 150 minutes of physical education per week for all students in elementary and middle school by the year 2014. The state mandate was strongly opposed by local school districts and teachers concerned about the financial impact of its implementation.

Speaking about his decision Governor McDonnell noted, "In my Inaugural Address I stated very clearly that Washington does not always know better than Richmond, and, equally, that Richmond does not always know better than Fairfax or Galax. I have long opposed significant unfunded mandates passed from one level of government to another. Thus, I cannot in good conscience sign this legislation."

"While the objective of this legislation is laudable, the proposed means of accomplishment is problematic.  Education officials advised me that this measure would cost them tens of millions of dollars. Fairfax County estimates the fiscal impact at $18-24 million; Chesterfield County places their potential costs at $6.9 million," the Governor remarked.

"In addition, this mandated time for physical education would exceed the time dedicated to any other subject in our public school system, and potentially cut into crucial time in the classroom needed for instruction in math, science, history and reading.  Our local school districts are facing tough budgetary times, and we simply cannot ask them now to incorporate an expensive new policy with no new funding."

The General Assembly will consider the Governor's veto when it meets the first week of April for the reconvened session.