$22M to be deposited into Teacher Empowerment Fund

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, has announced a more than $22 million deposit being added to the Teacher Empowerment Fund.

According to Pro Tem Treat, he and Senate Education Chairmen Senator Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, announced on Friday the $22.58 million that is being added to the fund from the Oklahoma Lottery proceeds.

Earlier this year, funding for the program was called into question.

“In short, we expect these funds will be available to be transferred to this revolving fund in September,” the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprises Services (OMES) Director of Legislative and Public Affairs, Caden Cleveland, told KFOR in June.

Now, that transfer has taken place.

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“As promised, these funds are now available to go toward our hard-working teachers who go above and beyond for their students,” Pro Tem Treat said. “These funds, combined with the raises that went into effect at the beginning of the school year, will further incentivize the highest performing teachers to stay in the classroom, which will help Oklahoma students and strengthen the profession. I would not be where I am today without the guidance from teachers at Catoosa Public Schools who believed in me. That is why I made it a priority to get these funds into the classroom as quickly as possible. I hope districts apply for these funds and the money goes out as soon as possible.”

The Oklahoma Department of Education says the fund allows the department to initiate advanced, lead and master teacher certificates and focuses on retaining quality educators in the classroom.

“I appreciate our hard-working teachers and am thrilled this money has gone out,” Sen. Pugh said. “I hope this money will give superintendents the resources and flexibility to reward teachers at the local level to make decisions by giving teachers raises they need to ensure their kids are being prepared for the next phase of their lives. I encourage all administrators to research this and apply for funds for their teachers. I will continue to be a resource to all school officials if they need assistance navigating the system.”

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Officials say teachers chosen for eligible district programs will get the following increases annually for each designation:

  • Advanced – Minimum $3,000 from the district with a $3,000 state match;

  • Lead – Minimum $5,000 from the district with a $5,000 state match; and

  • Master – Minimum $10,000 from the district with a $10,000 state match

Other financial motives are available for economically disadvantaged school districts and districts with less students.

Those interested are encouraged to reach out to the Oklahoma Teacher Empowerment Program at OTEP@sed.ook.gov.

To learn more, click here.

“The Teacher Empowerment Fund is the vehicle we need to reward our best and brightest teachers and is the path for our best teachers to make six figures while remaining in the classroom. I am committed to developing and rewarding the very best teachers in Oklahoma.”

Ryan Walters, State Superintendent of Public Instruction

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