Senate Pro Tem Treat, Senate Education Chairman Pugh Announce Over $22 Million Moved to Teacher Empowerment Fund

Ponca City Now - September 4, 2023 9:40 am

OKLAHOMA CITY – Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, and Senate Education Chairman Senator Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, today announced over $22.58 million has been deposited into the Teacher Empowerment Fund from the Oklahoma Lottery proceeds.

“As promised, these funds are now available to go toward our hard-working teachers who go above and beyond for their students,” Pro Tem Treat said. “These funds, combined with the raises that went into effect at the beginning of the school year, will further incentivize the highest performing teachers to stay in the classroom, which will help Oklahoma students and strengthen the profession. I would not be where I am today without the guidance from teachers at Catoosa Public Schools who believed in me. That is why I made it a priority to get these funds into the classroom as quickly as possible. I hope districts apply for these funds and the money goes out as soon as possible.”

According to the Oklahoma Department of Education, the fund allows the state Department of Education to establish advanced, lead and master teacher certificates – with minimum salary increases for the corresponding certificate levels.

The goal of the program is to retain quality teachers in the classroom – encouraging them to be mentors to their peers, rather than leaving the profession or moving to administration to earn a greater annual salary.

“I appreciate our hard-working teachers and am thrilled this money has gone out,” Sen. Pugh said. “I hope this money will give superintendents the resources and flexibility to reward teachers at the local level to make decisions by giving teachers raises they need to ensure their kids are being prepared for the next phase of their lives. I encourage all administrators to research this and apply for funds for their teachers. I will continue to be a resource to all school officials if they need assistance navigating the system.”

Teachers selected for eligible district programs will receive the following increases annually for each designation:

  • Advanced – Minimum $3,000 from the district with a $3,000 state match;
  • Lead – Minimum $5,000 from the district with a $5,000 state match; and
  • Master – Minimum $10,000 from the district with a $10,000 state match

Other financial incentives are available for economically disadvantaged school districts and districts with fewer students.

Education administrators who are interested in applying for their teachers are encouraged to contact the Oklahoma Teacher Empowerment Program at [email protected]. More information can be found by clicking here.


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