House Committee unanimously advances Steele’s Board of Ed reforms
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Published: 22-Feb-2011
Legislative Staff Release

Published: 22-Feb-2011

House Speaker Kris Steele authored legislation to reform the structure and responsibilities of the State Board of Education. The Common Education Committee unanimously approved House Bill 2139 today (Tuesday, February 22) which modifies the administration of the State Department of Education.  It transfers the administrative control and direction of the Department from the State Board of Education to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
 
“The Superintendent of Public Instruction is an elected official who is accountable to the people and should be allowed to direct the Department’s budget and personnel,” said Steele, a Shawnee Republican. “The Superintendent should be given the ability and prerogative to make personnel decisions in order to carry out her function and goals.”
 
House Bill 2139 also:
 
•        Allows the State Superintendent to establish divisions and positions within the Department.
 
•        Removes the State Board as the governing board of the Department.
 
•        Requires the State Superintendent to prepare a departmental budget and submit division reports.
 
•        Clarifies and updates language relating to the administrative duties of the State Superintendent.
 
•        Establishes powers and duties of the Superintendent related to the Department.
 
The State Board of Education would remain in charge of supervising public instruction; overseeing curriculum and implementing education policies advanced by the Legislature.
 
“According to the constitution, the State Board of Education is given the authority to supervise public instruction,” stated Steele. “We‘re making sure those responsibilities remain intact and feel it’s appropriate that the state superintendent manage the department. We now have a checks and balances in the system in which the superintendent and board will share in responsibilities.”
 
Steele concluded, “It is important to advance this necessary reform so we can truly begin the important work of improving Oklahoma schools to benefit all children of this state.”
 
The measure now moves to the full House.    

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