Senate members of the Joint Appropriations and Budget Committee have approved a $92.5 million supplemental funding bill for education and public safety, including $5,000 bonuses for National Board Certified (NBC) teachers. Senate Appropriations Chair Clark Jolley thanked committee members for their support of the legislation.
“Our leadership has agreed from the beginning that we would do everything in our power to ensure promises made to National Board Certified teachers would be kept. We’ve also made it clear that core services, including education and public safety, would be our number one priority,” said Jolley, R-Edmond. “This bill reflects that commitment.”
State School Superintendent Janet Barresi thanked legislative leaders for addressing additional funding for education.
"Dealing with a $100 million cut to education last year forced some hard choices. As the state's revenue picture has improved, I have continued to advocate for funding for National Board Certified bonuses. This is a step in the right direction to restore funding to programs that were cut as a result of last year's budget crunch. I am particularly pleased that the state is making good on its promises made to National Board Certified teachers,” Barresi said. “While our state continues to face fiscal challenges, the agreement announced today represents a prudent and responsible approach to difficult funding issues. I appreciate the work of House Speaker Kris Steele, Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, Senator Clark Jolley, Representative Earl Sears and other legislative leaders in crafting this important supplemental agreement."
SB 1959 includes:
• $14.8 million for NBC bonuses
• $37.6 million for insurance benefits for teachers and support staff
• $34.1 million for the State Emergency Fund to reimburse local communities and counties for disaster assistance
• $5 million for the Department of Public Safety for a Trooper Academy
• $1 million for the State Medical Examiner for personnel and equipment required for national accreditation
The next step will be for the House members of the A&B committee to consider SB 1959. If approved, the bill next moves to the full Senate.
Gov. Mary Fallin praised lawmakers for their efforts.
“As I said in my State of the State address, emergency supplemental funding measures are required to meet state commitments and adequately fund needs in public safety, education, natural disaster recovery and necessary personnel and equipment upgrades at the Chief Medical Examiner’s office,” Fallin said. “I applaud the leadership in the House and Senate for putting these priorities on the forefront of their legislative agenda, and I will continue to work with them to ensure that the state is properly supporting core government services.”