The Norman Transcript

Education

November 18, 2013

Superintendents address state of area schools

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Lastly, Siano went over NPS finances and said less state funding has impacted the district. Since Fiscal Year 2008, Oklahoma has had the third largest drop in spending per student in the country; a reduction of 20.3 percent, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities 2012 report.

“These cuts make a significant difference, especially when you’re trying to raise standards,” Siano said.

He also emphasized the importance of the proposed 2014 bond of $126 million. Board members envision a freshman academy at both high schools, as well continued investments in technology and additional classrooms to deal with overcrowding.

Siano said because of less state funding, passing the bond was essential.

“I think we’ve met challenges over the past 10 years and will continue to do so,” he said.

Bowen began as MNTC superintendent in 2012. Previously, she was the superintendent of Northwest Technology Center in Alva. Bowen has 36 years of experience in the education field and began her career as a counselor.

Bowen said there is a large skills gap throughout the U.S. and the world.

“Thirty percent of ninth-graders will drop out before completing high school, and 10 percent of ninth-graders will lack the skills needed for employment,” Bowen said. “Forty percent will come out of school with no skills for a job, but look at where the jobs are. Sixty-five percent of jobs require an associate’s degree or advanced training.”

However, Bowen said a career tech renaissance was occurring because it is relevant, hands-on and requires working in groups, much like the real work force.

“These forgotten 40 percent need to know that the pathway to heaven is to be both career ready and college ready,” Bowen said.

MNTC provides high school students and adults with affordable technical training in the areas of business and information technology careers, health careers and technical careers in 48 programs of study. Bowen said more than 500 businesses in the MNTC district were served last year.

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