From Senator Ford to his legislative colleagues: Attached is an “OEA Legislative Update” that was e-mailed to OEA members yesterday (Mar 4). This OEA update will generate many e-mails and phone calls from constituents. Following is a possible reply: Senate Bill 834 will eliminate many unfunded mandates that have hamstrung our local school districts. These mandates have negatively impacted their ability to develop innovative approaches and programs to ensure students will indeed master the skills and curriculum necessary to compete once they graduate—whether they go on to college, to a CareerTech, or straight into the workplace.
Again, I will ask, 1) Why don't you just fund the mandates you expect schools to follow or 2) Did you know Oklahoma already has a deregulation procedure in place?
OEA is working to defeat this measure, and has made erroneous claims that educators, who are among the 74 percent of teachers in Oklahoma that currently work for districts paying above the minimum salary schedule, may face thousands of dollars in pay cuts.
It is important to point out that these districts are paying above the minimum salary schedule because they have chosen to do so....
I wonder if Senator Ford knows that the percentage of total school spending going into teacher compensation has declined from 56.3% in 1995-96 to 43.5% in 2006-07.
Or, has the Senator sat at a meeting with a Superintendent who said, "I'll buy 5,000 rolls of toilet paper before I'll ever give you a dime of that money."