State Board of Education Lifts Restrictions on Funding, Approves New Academic Standards

The State Board of Education relaxed some restrictions on funds allotted to four specific programs giving local district a little more financial flexibility as budget cuts loom.

Nearly $30 million was budgeted for the Reading Sufficiency Act, Achieving Classroom Excellence remediation, alternative education and staff professional development. The Board voted to lift the restrictions on those funds, while still meeting the requirements of the programs.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said it gives schools more flexibility to meet urgent needs.

“We are doing what we can to give local districts options while maintaining every expectation that schools fully implement the important programs for which these funds were assigned. This modification simply loosens the regulatory strings,” Hofmeister said.

It is widely expected that education will face cuts during the next budget year with another revenue failure for the current year as a possibility. Much of the money impacted by the Board’s decision has already been distributed to districts.

The Board also approved the final draft of the new state academic standards for English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. That draft now goes to the Legislature for final approval.

“These new standards are rigorous, user-friendly and most importantly created by Oklahomans to address the particular needs of our state,” Hofmeister said. “They strengthen expectations of what our students can achieve and set a high bar that ensures all Oklahoma schoolchildren will be well prepared to enter higher education and demanding careers. I am thankful to every Oklahoman who participated in this process — from writing the standards to providing essential feedback. Oklahoma can truly be proud of these standards.”

It was House Bill 3399 which repealed Common Core State Standards and began the process of setting new standards for use in the 2016-2017 school year.

Gov. Fallin praised the process of setting the new standards.

“I want to thank the thousands of Oklahomans, especially our state’s educators, who took part in the development of the Oklahoma Academic Standards. I sincerely commend all involved for their commitment to providing standards written by Oklahomans for Oklahoma’s students.  I look forward to thoughtfully reviewing the Oklahoma Academic Standards and working with the Legislature to approve high quality, college- and career-ready standards to use in our schools. We have the responsibility and obligation to give teachers and students the tools they need for a quality education.”

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