State Board members approved a $2.5 billion Fiscal Year 2015 budget request for the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). Representing a $171.9 million increase over last year, the proposal will go before the state Legislature when it convenes in February. The budget requests an $81.4 million increase in financial support for schools, part of $1.9 billion overall in the State Aid Funding Formula. The budget request sets aside 20 percent of the new funds – about $16 million — to reward schools that show academic improvement among a large student population on free and reduced lunches. The funding request includes $593.5 million for the activities budget, an $86.4 million increase over FY 2014. That figure reflects how Oklahoma schools are continuing their shift toward stronger academic standards and heightened expectations, providing $69 million for the implementation of various reforms. That amounts to a $26 million increase for reform spending over last year.
New State Board of Education members were sworn into office by State Superintendent Janet Barresi during Tuesday’s meeting.
Daniel Keating is the president of Summit Consolidated Group, a national brokerage and insurance company with offices in Tulsa and Oklahoma City as well as in several other states.
In 2002, he was appointed by President Bush to the Board of Advisors on Tribal Colleges and Universities. He is a member of Oklahoma Wesleyan University Foundation’s board of directors and previously was an adjunct professor at Oral Roberts University. Mr. Keating serves on the board of directors of the State Chamber of Oklahoma, is a board member of the Salvation Army, and is a past finance committee chairman of the Oklahoma Historical Society Board. Mr. Keating deserves recognition for his service to our nation in Vietnam as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps.
He is the brother of former Gov. Frank Keating.
Cathryn Franks is a former history teacher who taught at Killeen High School in Texas, where she was twice named “Teacher of the Year.” She is the director of international cultural education for Musco Lighting International, a company that provides lighting at major sporting events and stadiums worldwide.
Mrs. Franks previously served as an executive board member for the Military Child Education Coalition, a nonprofit that works to ensure quality educational opportunities for military children affected by mobility, family separation, and transition. Her numerous awards for public service include the Commander’s Award, Department of the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Award, Secretary of the Army Public Service Award, and the Secretary of Defense Award for Outstanding Public Service.
The wife of retired Gen. Tommy Franks -- who was commander of the U.S. Central Command overseeing the U.S. Armed Forces in a 25-country region -- she is an advisor to the Gen. Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum, which works to enhance leadership skills in middle school students.
The 2014 State Teacher of the Year, Peter L. Markes, was presented with a plaque at Tuesday’s State Board of Education meeting. Markes is an 8th- through 12th-grade string orchestra and Advanced Placement music theory teacher from Edmond North High School in the Edmond School District and has 12 years of teaching experience, 11 in his current position.
He has a bachelor’s degree of Music in Education, with an emphasis on instrumental music from Oklahoma City University. Markes will serve as Oklahoma's "Ambassador of Teaching,” presenting to teachers and civic groups throughout the state for one year. He will represent Oklahoma in the national Teacher of the Year competition in the spring of 2014.
Dr. David Goin, Superintendent of Edmond Public Schools, attended Tuesday's meeting with Markes.
Michelle Reeves, Project Coordinator for Early Childhood in the Special Education office, presented board members with The Oklahoma Parents as Teachers (OPAT) Annual Program Evaluation. The program is based on the philosophy that parents are their children’s first and most important teachers. It is designed to maximize a child’s overall development during the first three years of life by laying a foundation for school success and minimizing developmental problems that interfere with the child’s learning. Through monthly personal visits by trained parent educators and parent group meetings, parents engage in the program’s online curriculum. Other intended benefits of the program include early identification of developmental delays or sensory problems (e.g. hearing, vision) and a reduction in the number of children who require remedial and special education services. Participation in the Oklahoma Parents as Teachers (OPAT) program is voluntary and available to all families in school districts that receive grant funds.
In 2012-2013, the Oklahoma Parents as Teachers (OPAT) grant program funded 37 grants for programs located in Oklahoma. The size of the award was dependent on the enrollment (Average Daily Membership) of the applicant. The OSDE issued a total of $1,001,500 in funds to the grantees.
OPAT parent educators completed a total of 20,751 personal visits with 2,340 families and 2,621 children during the 2012-2013 funding year. The average program cost per family was $427; average program cost per child was $382.
Sonia Johnson, Director, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, reported on grant awards for the 2013-2014 school year.
This year, 50 peer reviewers considered 71 applications. Each grant received three peer reviews and was scored on a rubric. Thirteen new grants totaling $2.6 million were awarded. This brings the total number of grantees in the program to 60, serving 12,000 prekindergarten through 12th-grade students across the state.
Each grantee provides before-, after- and other out-of-school learning programs for students attending high-poverty or low-performing schools. Programs include literacy, science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, college and career awareness, arts, fitness and nutrition, community service, and others that reinforce regular academic programs. Such time spent in an environment of additional learning leads to the closing of achievement gaps for students in poverty.
Funding is authorized under Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
Board members approved the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) teaching performance standards evaluation framework as an option for districts to use as part of the qualitative portion of the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness evaluation system. Dr. Kerri White, Assistant State Superintendent of Educational Support, said the model was requested by several districts and recently approved by the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Commission. It meets all criteria of state law, she said. The framework joins the Tulsa, Marzano and Danielson models as options districts can use to evaluate teachers. Additional information about the option will be made available to districts soon.
Board members also approved $5,785,000 in Qualified Zone Academy Bond allocations (QZABs) for 11 school districts. The federal program allows qualified districts to partner with a financial investor, which receives a tax credit for loaning the districts money on these no-interest bonds. The bonds cannot be used for new construction but can be used for rehabilitating or repairing public school facilities, providing equipment, developing course materials for education, or training teachers and other school personnel. School must have at least 35 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-prices lunches to qualify, and they must demonstrate their ability to repay the loan.