State Superintendent Janet Barresi cast the tie-breaking vote, on Thursday, that will cut several popular state programs, including 12 million in teacher bonuses, to approve the upcoming budget that begins July 1st.
The vote was dead locked at 3-3 before Barresi, who led the development, cast her vote. Barresi said she had to cut $100 million (more than 4%) of the budget for statewide education enhancement programs because of Oklahoma’s ongoing state budget woes.
According to The Oklahoman, other cuts include $2.3 million in adult education programs, about $1 million in Advanced Placement test incentives for schools whose students passed the college-credit earning exams, certain programs for alternative education, $50,000 for the charter school incentive fund, $2.5 million for middle school mathematics laboratories, and a number of teacher development programs totaling about $7 million.
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.
Districts are encouraged to provide National Board-certified teachers, but the state will not be providing a bonus.