Monday, February 25, 2008

Legislative Update/ 2008 ESP Lobby Day

We would like to thank Sen. Judy McIntyre of Tulsa for not hearing Senate Bill 2148 that would give tax credits to Oklahomans who donate to private schools. Tax credits and vouchers reduce the resources available to ensure great public schools for every child.

Senate Bill 2100 threatens your local association's right to negotiate a contract. The bill would allow the State Board of Education to establish a Charter District Pilot Program. Ten school districts in Oklahoma could apply for the pilot program and function similar to charter schools. SB 2100 would allow school districts to:

*Not follow all state regulations, only a select few.

*Eliminate contract negotiations.

*Reduce standards for teacher certification.

*Eliminate due process.

Contact your senator to voice your opposition against this bill.

House Bill 2681 threatens to change the date of notification of reemployment from April 10 to June 10. The two-month delay would allow less time for teachers to find other employment if the contract was not renewed. It would also leave districts strapped for time to hire a new teacher. This bill is detrimental to students, teachers and school districts. Contact your legislators and let them know the harm this bill would cause our Oklahoma schools.

Icy conditions didn’t keep a number of education support professionals from attending the 2008 OEA ESP Lobby Day at the Capitol. The ESP came to lobby for living wages and benefits for the people who provide the school’s operational services. These men and women are some of the lowest paid workers in our state and are part of what many in our country call the “working poor”. Ironically, because they have access to our kids on a day to day basis, they can provide tremendous influence and help to those kids.

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