Thursday, January 24, 2008

Open letter to NBCT's

This letter was sent out via the OEA-NBCT list serv, the OEA Insider, and can be found on our web page.

Dear National Board Certified Teacher,

By now you should have received notice from Superintendent Garrett concerning the change in the way your $5,000 stipend for successfully achieving National Board Certification will be paid. This change came as a result of a settlement the state made with the IRS.

The IRS found, for the purpose of the bonus payment, that teachers are subject to the will and control of the School District, State, and Statutes in performing their duties as public school teachers. The fact that the bonus was paid by the State, rather than the school district, does not change the teachers’ classification from employee to independent contractor. Internal Revenue code 3401 (d) provides that an employer (for the purposes of withholding) can be someone other than the common law employer, if that person has control of the payment of wages. These wages are subject to Social Security, Medicare, and income tax withholding per IRC 3402 (d).

Oklahoma law provides that all teachers who attain National Board certification shall receive a bonus in the amount of $5,000 no later than January 31st. Your district previously received a “Statement of Eligibility” form from the State Department of Education to verify the number of teachers who qualify for the bonus. Once the State Department receives that eligibility form, they will make payment directly to each qualifying school district.

Depending on your family income and tax status, you may find that this method of payment will actually increase your “bring home” amount from the bonus. Let’s hope that is the case.

Unfortunately, your district will not be receiving an amount large enough to cover the district expense of this payment method at this time. Superintendent Garrett does intend to request a supplemental appropriation to cover this expense to your district. Please be assured that the OEA will support this supplemental request and will work to see that it is provided.

If we can be of any help, please feel free to contact us.


Roy Bishop
Oklahoma Education Association

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