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Hard Times for Okla. Teachers

Like many states across the country, Oklahoma is having a tough time making ends meet and teachers are taking a hit. In a bill that is headed for Governor Brad Henry's desk, which he is expected to sign, teacher applications for National Board certification and the attached $5,000 stipend would be suspended for two years, reports the Tulsa World.

The bill would also exempt schools from purchasing new textbooks, allowing them instead to use the money for general operations. Professional development requirements for teachers and administrators would also be rolled back. Opponents have expressed concern that the suspension would become permanent.

But State Superintendent Sandy Garrett believes the cost-cutting measures are necessary, according to the Associated Press. "We do agree that flexibility needs to happen...for a couple of years here, until we get through this hard time," she said.

And in other cost-cutting news, according to NewsOn6.com, more than 360 first year teachers in the Oklahoma City Public Schools were told they might not have a job in the fall. With a $17million shortfall in its budget, the district is considering saving $6 million by not renewing 130 to 150 first-year teaching contracts. Other cuts would include closing five elementary schools and suspending the purchase of new textbooks, which could save the district more than $3 million. First year teachers in Tulsa have also been notified that their jobs might be in jeopardy.

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