Governor Reacts to Random Teacher Drug Test Vote

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- No random teacher drug tests, no pay raise. That's word from Governor Linda Lingle Friday night, in response to the State Board of Education's (BOE) vote against funding a program to randomly test public school teachers for drugs.

BOE voted against funding random drug testing, saying there's no money for it.

But the Governor says that's not true and adds no money needs to come out of classrooms to pay for the program.

Governor Lingle stands her ground, criticizing BOE for not supporting random drug tests for public school teachers.

"I think they're dragging their feet even though they were part of the contract negotiations, as you know the BOE is represented when we do the negotiations and they need to live up to their responsibility and carry this out," Governor Lingle said.

The drug testing program goes hand in hand with teacher's pay raises, signed by both sides in a contract. The Governor says rejecting drug tests, puts raises in limbo.

"I think she needs to apologize to us teachers for insulting us with this action and cast suspicion on us," said Robin Fancy, a teacher from Lanai.

The Governor says the random teacher drug testing program would not squeeze out money from classrooms, like Board members claim. She says there's $30 million in operating funds that would cover the costs. But critics say that money should be spent on students.

"Let's put the money back to the rural schools so librarians and teachers don't have to spend their own money right now," said Fancy.

Money aside, Governor Lingle says random teacher drug tests will help keep students more safe. But many teachers say, it violates their civil rights.

BOE takes up this issue again in February.