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Oklahoma Lawmaker Wants to Renew Teacher Stipend (Feb 03, 2012)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The chairman of the Senate Education Committee says he wants to restore a $5,000 stipend to Oklahoma teachers who complete the National Board Certification process.

Sen. John Ford of Bartlesville says ensuring that educators get what was promised to them is a top priority for the 2012 legislative session that kicks off on Monday.

Certification is a rigorous program that takes teachers up to three years to complete. State law allows educators who complete the process to receive an annual $5,000 stipend for 10 years, if funding is available.

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

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