June 5, 2012
Oklahoma State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
State Department Posts Board Meeting Audio on iTunes U
Beginning on Tuesday, the State Department of Education began posting audio of State Board of Education meetings for public access within its new iTunes U portal. The portal was first launched in April. It is available for free to the public through Apple's free iTunes software application. Audio for the latest meeting is available now.
Board Approves FY2013 Activities Fund Budget
Faced with standstill funding levels appropriated by the Oklahoma Legislature last month that directed more than $445 million to be spent on line items such as flexible benefits allowances for teachers and school support personnel, early childhood education, alternative education and bonuses for board-certified teachers, the Board on Tuesday afternoon approved an almost $457 million Activities Fund Budget for public schools. The Board acted to restore a portion of funding for some items it had been forced to cut during last year's budget shortfall -- such as Great Expectations, funds for the FIRST Robotics competition and A+ Schools. It also protected funding for items such as the Oklahoma Arts Institute and Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom. With only $10.5 million available to budget for programs that required millions more, the Board had to leave several key priorities without funding -- including dollars for reading sufficiency and adult education. "The Board made the best of a difficult year," said State Supt. Janet Barresi. "We intend to immediately begin working to seek a supplemental appropriation from the Legislature next year to offset some very painful cuts. In particular, we'll be asking for a supplemental appropriation to help with reading sufficiency funds. With very few dollars available, the Board simply couldn't fund those items."
Board Rules on ACE Appeals
The Board received recommendations on 26 appeals for waivers from Achieving Classroom Excellence graduation requirements. Of those, a committee appointed by the State Board recommended that approval be granted to two students, one based on verified evidence meeting the criteria for granting an exception to ACE graduation requirements, the other based upon evidence of the student being accepted into a selective university. The committee recommended that seven appeals be denied and that 16 appeals be dismissed based upon evidence that the students had either already met ACE requirements or had withdrawn their appeal because they had either not met graduation requirements apart from ACE or they have not yet been denied a diploma.