In an effort to restore public confidence, State Senator Kenneth Corn (D-Poteau) announced today he will file legislation to bring reforms to the Career Tech system that will provide accountability and responsibility to the taxpayers of Oklahoma. Pointing to problems throughout the Career Tech system in Oklahoma, Corn has taken steps to produce changes that he says are common sense solutions to prevent the problems from occurring again.
“I am a product of Oklahoma’s Career Tech system and know firsthand the vital skills students learn from its programs,” said Corn. “I am committed to working with the system to produce reforms that will allow Career Tech to continue to be the crown jewel in our state’s educational system.”
Recent audit reports and other allegations have called into question the use of Career Tech resources at three districts across the state. The problems stem from the lack of oversight ability by the State Career Tech Board and the lack of public accountability that can bring these problems to light for resolution in a quick and fair manner that does not detract from the System’s central mission of education.
The senator stated he supports the local control in place for the System, but there needs to be higher accountability when such serious problems arise. Corn, who has served on advisory councils for the system and was named a Career Tech champion, said he has met with Career Tech leaders and informed them of the pending legislation. He stated this is a great opportunity to strengthen the system and return the focus to educating young Oklahomans.
Corn has reserved four bills for the upcoming legislative session. The measures will be officially filed later this month. The legislation will consist of the following:
- Allow the Director and the State Board of Career Tech to ask for investigative audits of school districts within its systems from the State Auditor and Inspector;
- Require the Career Tech system to produce performance measures and audits to include but not be limited to travel, expenditures, enrollment, and skills assessments;
- Allow the State Career Tech Board to take action when performance measures are not met;
- Disallow administrators and board members from participating and benefiting from live work projects over $500; and
- Clearly define the length of terms of Career Tech District Board of Education members.
“It is unfortunate that a few individuals can create such distraction when most faculty and staff of our Career Tech Systems do an outstanding job in producing students with skills that allow them to succeed. These reforms will protect this vital education system and restore the public trust in its mission,” said Senator Corn.