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Bill to Empower Okla. School Boards Clears Panel (Feb 27, 2012)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma school districts would be able to ignore most statutory state requirements under a bill that has cleared a Senate committee and faced fierce resistance from public schoolteachers.

The Senate Education Committee voted along party lines on Monday to approve the so-called "School District Empowerment Program," with Democrats on the panel opposing the measure.

The bill by Bartlesville Republican Sen. John Ford would allow local school districts to be exempt from all the same requirements from which charter schools are exempt.

Districts would still have to comply with minimum salary and benefit requirements for teachers, background checks for teachers and basic curriculum requirements.

The president of the Oklahoma chapter of the American Federation of Teachers says classroom teachers are bitterly opposed to the plan.


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