Sharon Martin -- The State Department of Education threw an educational leadership conference. Their website invited administrators and teachers to sign up, but when a local group suggested that National Board Certified Teachers who lost their funding should attend the conference, the website was taken down.
Clifton Adcock -- Despite some major budget cuts in the past couple of years because of state revenue shortfalls, the state has continued to fund the bonuses, albeit at a lower level. However, the National Board Certified Teachers bonus fund was one of several programs to be cut back to zero after a new budget was narrowly passed on June 23 by the State Board of Education.
The lead spokesman for Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi rebuffed criticisms of his boss and of the state Board of Education, contending the governing body for public schools in Oklahoma faced “tough decisions” and made them within the law and under authority granted to the state Department of Education.
The $401 million activities budget includes full funding for health benefits for teachers and support staff and for state payments into the Teachers' Retirement System of Oklahoma, which had not been fully funded by the state during the past fiscal year. But to meet those obligations, Barresi said, other programs had to be cut.
Amid more outcry from leaders of Tulsa alternative education programs that have lost all state funding, Oklahoma education officials are explaining how they went about slashing more than $18.5 million from the school activities budget.
Editorial -- Lawmakers for years have called for more accountability and standards for Oklahoma’s public school teachers. Some wanted merit pay, meaning teachers who achieve certain standards get higher pay. Thousands of Oklahoma teachers took them on their word and achieved the National Board certified status.
Oklahoma Watchdog asks Oklahoma State Superintendent Janet Barresi about whether the June, 2011, agenda conforms to the Open Meetings Law because of the elimination of payments to National Board Certified teachers which was not expressly written on the agenda.