BY World's Editorials Writers
Saturday, January 26, 2013
1/26/13 at 7:17 AM
Kudos to Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi for seeking supplemental funds (that's money that can be spent during the current budget year) from the Legislature for remedial help for high school students who struggle to meet the state's end-of-instruction exam requirements.
Barresi on Thursday said she will ask lawmakers to approve a $37.7 million supplemental appropriation. In response to requests from local school district superintendents around the state, her request will include $15 million for remedial services for students who have difficulty passing four of seven subject matter tests, which is now required in order to receive a high school diploma.
Oklahoma doesn't need to create a sub-class of young people who have met all other graduation requirements but can't pass the required exams and thus are denied the diploma needed to get a job or join the military. If we are going to have a law that requires students to prove their test-taking ability, the state ought to provide the remedial help that was promised when the law was passed.
Barresi's supplemental request also will include $5.9 million to be distributed through the state aid formula for public schools, which is aimed at restoring per-pupil spending back to the level it was at the end of last year.
Another provision would send $8.5 million to local districts to cover increased costs of state-mandated health insurance for teachers and staff.
Other amounts would go to help meet requirements of the Reading Sufficiency Act ($6.5 million) and technology needs in the state Department of Education ($1.8 million).
The request will go to House and Senate committees this coming week. Approval of the full amount or very close to it seems a no-brainer.
Students line up to catch their bus at a high school in Tulsa. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World file