Lawmakers Allocate Additional Funding for Education but Fail to Ban Corporal Punishment in Oklahoma Schools

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A bill seeking to ban the use of corporal punishment on students with disabilities has failed to progress after being approved by the House.

Lawmakers Allocate Additional Funding for Education
Lawmakers Allocate Additional Funding for Education ( Photo: Twitter )

Lawmakers in Oklahoma have allocated an additional $625 million in recurring appropriations for public education

During the 2023 legislative session, several significant developments took place concerning teachers and students. Notably, certified school staff, including teachers, counselors, nurses, and speech pathologists, will experience a pay raise of at least $3,000 starting from the 2023-2024 school year. This increase will bring the annual salary of first-year teachers with a bachelor’s degree in Oklahoma to $39,601. The pay raises will be structured based on experience, with increments of $3,000 for less than four years, $4,000 for five to nine years, $5,000 for 10 to 15 years, and $6,000 for more than 15 years. Furthermore, teachers will now be eligible for up to six weeks of paid maternity leave as part of a broader education funding agreement between Governor Kevin Stitt and GOP lawmakers.

Every public school district in the state will receive nearly $300,000 over three years to enhance security measures or hire a school resource officer

Additionally, Senate Bill 100 has been passed, which mandates the Oklahoma School Safety Institute or another risk assessor to conduct security audits and assess vulnerability in all public school districts by July 2026. The resulting report from these assessments may be kept confidential.

However, one area where progress was not achieved was the proposed ban on physical punishment of students with disabilities. Although the measure successfully passed the House, it faced obstacles in the Senate. House Bill 1028 initially failed in the House but was later reconsidered and advanced to the Senate with minimal opposition. Nevertheless, it did not receive a full chamber vote. Notably, Oklahoma is one of the 19 states that still permit corporal punishment in schools, according to the National Institutes of Health.

 

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