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Okla. Senator Seeks Clarification on Bonus Funding (Dec 22, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A state senator from Lawton is asking for an attorney general's opinion on whether it is mandatory to pay National Board Certified teachers an annual $5,000 stipend.

Lawton Democrat Sen. Randy Bass said Wednesday he requested an official opinion to clarify the issue.

The State Board of Education voted to withhold funding the bonuses this year after cash-strapped lawmakers slashed the public education budget. The board also eliminated funding for a scholarship program to help defray the costs to teachers seeking National Board certification.

Bass says he believes that funding the program is mandatory and that educators deserve to know whether there will be financial incentives for completing the program.

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman has said funding the program will be a priority next year.

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