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3:33 pm
Sat April 7, 2012

Loss of stipends could be felt in Oklahoma classrooms

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma teachers say the elimination of a stipend program for completing a rigorous national certification process could have long-term consequences inside classrooms.

Legislation that would authorize $5,000 annual stipends for teachers who are certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is pending in the House Appropriations and Budget Committee after it was resurrected by a budget subcommittee that defeated it a week earlier.

Lawmakers say they are concerned about the program's long-term sustainability. It's estimated to cost about $15 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Belle Isle Enterprise School teacher Daniel Buckmaster is a nationally certified teacher. He says the process encourages teachers to improve their skills, and lawmakers should view the stipends as an investment to keeping great teachers in the classroom.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.