Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan and Senator Stratton Taylor, chairman of the Appropriations Sub-Committee on Education, today announced funding proposals for Higher Education and CareerTech completing Senate Democrats $300 million education funding plan.
In addition to the $195 million increase in public schools Morgan and Taylor proposed January 10, the Senate Democrats education plan calls for an $87 million increase in higher educating funding and a $12.5 million increase for CareerTech. Senate Democrats also propose $1 million in new funding for libraries and $2.4 million for other educational entities, including the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority.
“Investing in education at all levels – our public schools, colleges and universities and our career training centers – is the key to making a bright future for Oklahoma,” Morgan said.
The Senate Democrats Higher Education funding proposal includes $62 million a year for fixed costs, including faculty and facilities; a $10 million increase for the Oklahoma Learning Access Program; and an additional $15 million to annualize the debt service on the Higher Education Bond Issue passed by the Legislature in 2005.
“Increasing Higher Education opportunities is one of the most important things we can do to invest in Oklahoma’s future. Keeping down the cost of tuition will mean that more Oklahoma students can earn a college degree and become more productive members of the workforce,” Taylor said.
Morgan cited OHLAP as one of the most successful programs in the state. The program provides college tuition scholarships for students whose family income is $50,000 or less; who complete a college-preparatory curriculum; and who make good grades and stay out of trouble.
“OHLAP puts a premium on personal responsibility and by increasing funding for OHLAP we can ensure that the students who have completed their commitment to will receive the college scholarship they were promised,” Morgan said. “This is one of the most important investments we can make in the young people of our state.”
CareerTech would get an additional $12.5 million under the Senate Democrats proposal – including $5.7 million to provide a $3,000 across the board raise for teachers in the state’s CareerTech education centers.
Another $3.9 million funding boost is proposed for technology programs in Oklahoma’s comprehensive high schools. Additionally, the Senate Democrats plan calls for a $2.85 million funding boost for CareerTech Centers, programs in Skills Centers and training for existing industries.
“Our CareerTech system is the envy of the nation. Further investment in technical and vocational programs will ensure that Oklahoma has the ability to provide the training necessary for existing industry and the programs that will attract new companies to our state,” Morgan said.