State Representative Toni Hasenbeck

State Representative Toni Hasenbeck 

A few weeks ago, the House passed historic education funding bills, but I want to provide an update on the other education bills the House will consider in the coming weeks.

Teacher recruitment and retention continues to be a major priority, and several bills this year would help with this issue.

House Bill 2558 would provide an annual $5,000 bonus to teachers with National Board Certification.

House Bill 2555 would match up to $15 million in state dollars with funding from private sources for high school graduates pursuing careers in critical industries.

House Bill 2559 renames the Oklahoma Future Teacher Scholarship Program to the Inspired to Teach Program. It also opens the scholarship to home-schooled students and GED graduates.

The House is also considering several bills related to legislative oversight of the State Dept. of Education and the State Board of Education.

House Bill 2562 would give the House and Senate two appointments each to the State Board of Education. It would also require the new positions to include a rural resident and a former school superintendent from a district with enrollment below 10,000.

House Bill 2569 puts a moratorium on additional accreditation rules on schools by the OSDE without specific legislative approval.

House Bill 2678 prohibits the appointment of a person who currently serves on a local school board to also serve on State Board of Education. This avoids conflicts of interest.

In the area of the parental choice, the House has already approved House Bill 1935, which creates the Oklahoma Parental Choice Tax Credit Act to allow a $5,000 annual tax credit for private school students and a $2,500 credit for students educated by other means.

We've also approved House Bill 2775, which provides $500 million to fund $2,500 pay raises for teachers, $50 million for schools receiving below-average funding from annual local tax revenue, and $300 million for schools on a per-pupil basis.

The House Appropriations & Budget Committee approved House Bill 1376 to move the threshold to qualify for free and reduced-price school lunch to 300% of the federal poverty level, the equivalent of a salary of $83,250 for a family of four.

The House is also working to address constituent concerns about instructional content in their children's classroom.

House Bill 2546 prohibits discussion on sex education, sexual orientation or gender from occurring in K-5 classes.

House Bill 2158 requires the financial literacy graduation requirement to be taken in grades 10-12 rather than in 7-12, which is the current standard. This would put information in a student's hand closer to the time they will use it.

House Bill 2675 creates a taskforce to study and make recommendations to modernize high school graduation requirements.

We have until Thursday, March 23 to pass the remaining 543 bills through the House. Afterward, we'll swap bills with the Senate and begin the legislative process anew.

Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, a Republican, represents House District 65 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Her district includes Cotton County and a portions of Comanche County.

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