Oklahoma Board Of Education Cuts Teacher Bonuses

Tuesday, June 28th 2011, 8:27 pm
By: News 9

Jennifer Pierce, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma teachers are facing cuts to their pay. The state Board of Education has approved the budget for the next fiscal year. Funding for a $5,000 bonus given to National Board-certified teachers has been cut.

Teachers are expressing their disappointment. Lisa Ummel-Ingram, a 5th grade National Board-certified teacher, says it sends educators a harsh message. "We are to be committed, seek out professional development and we do that to be better teachers. But we aren't supported by the state," said the Oklahoma City Public School teacher.

To become National Board-certified is not an easy process. It takes over a year and not all teachers pass the first test. It also costs teachers $2,500 to go through the process.

The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools offers a scholarship for teachers wanting to become certified, but not all districts do. The state has also cut its scholarship funding.

"Makes it almost impossible for something they can pursue on their own," said Lori Dickinson, Executive Director of the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Dickinson said the bonus cuts will not impact schools right away, but she thinks fewer teachers will not pursue certification if the state doesn't provide incentive, hurting schools in the long term.

The state is encouraging districts to pay the bonus. Dickinson said that's impossible for many districts, including Oklahoma City, "There is not enough time for them to go back and redo their budgets."