Representative Rhonda Baker

Hi, I'm Rhonda Baker and I represent the people of Oklahoma's 60th District.


News & Announcements

May 19, 2023
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Legislature Sends Historic Education Package to Governor

The Legislature today gave final passage to a set of bills directing a historic investment into public education.  Senate Bill 1119 provides longevity-based pay raises for all certified staff, ranging from a $3,000 increase for teachers with 0-4 years' experience; $4,000 for 5 to 9 years; $5,000 for 10-14 years; and $6,000 for teachers employed 15 years or more.  Senate Bill 1121 provides six weeks' paid maternity leave for teachers employed for at least a year.  House Bill 2901 appropriates a recurring $500 million to the school funding formula to cover costs associated with SB1119 and SB1121.  Senate Bill 1120 directs $125 million to the Redbud Fund to address property tax revenue disparities in districts with lower ad valorem bases to help meet basic infrastructure and maintenance needs.  Senate Bill 1118 creates a three-year literacy instructional team within the State Dept. of Education to assist school districts. The team will have five regional locations across the state and will help teachers recognize educational needs of students, with an additional emphasis on students who have dyslexia. The program is funded through a one-time appropriation of $10 million.  House Bill 2903 creates a three-year school safety pilot program to provide every district with a school resource officer or security upgrades.  House Bill 2904 provides a one-time appropriation of $150 million toward HB2903. Each school district will receive approximately $96,000 annually throughout the three-year program.  Each bill passed both chambers overwhelmingly, with final votes delivered Friday, May 18. They now move to the governor's desk for consideration and, if signed into law, would take effect in Fiscal Year 2024, which begins July 1, 2023.  ---  "Every year, our constituents tell us they want to see additional investments into public education, and thanks to thoughtful budgeting, we have been able to direct historic levels of new money into our public schools this year. With the implementation of this year's education plan, the Legislature will have invested more funding into public education in the past five years than in the previous 27 years combined. I'm proud of the work we have done to provide more resources and flexibility to every student, every parent, every teacher and every school district in the state."  – House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka  “Negotiations were tough and combative at times but I value the transformative product that came out of the process. We are making historic investments in public education, giving meaningful teacher pay raises, delivering maternity leave, making critical investments for school safety, and delivering choice for kids and parents in Oklahoma. I want to sincerely thank Senators Pugh, Pemberton, and McCortney for the months of work that went into this. Also, I want to thank Justice Steven Taylor for directing the negotiations in a productive fashion. Finally, I want to thank all 40 members of my caucus who gave incredibly meaningful input to improve the legislation.” – Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City "Each year I have served in the House of Representatives, we have worked to pass historic education funding. This year's plan surpasses them all. We've secured $625 million in new recurring funding for our public schools and another $160 million to go toward literacy and school safety efforts. Under this plan, every certified teacher in the state will get thousands of extra dollars in their paychecks aligning with their years of service to students in their classrooms. I am so proud of our efforts to support public education with our actions and our resources."  – House Common Education Chair and former teacher Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon  "Oklahoma public school teachers prepare hundreds of thousands of students each year to succeed in life and work after high school. This strengthens our communities and Oklahoma's economy. This package gives these teachers the largest pay raise in state history, showing them our confidence and appreciation for the job they do. It also appropriates historic amounts of funding to our classrooms, and ensures rural, suburban and urban schools can thrive. At the same time, we've given parents, a.k.a. taxpayers, some control over their own income so they have more educational choices. We accomplished this in a way that doesn't touch public school funding. In fact, we've worked to make our public education budget the biggest and best in our state's history. Of that, I'm enormously pleased."  – House Appropriations & Budget Subcommittee on Education Chair Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore “Many of these reforms came from hours of discussions with hundreds of teachers, administrators, parents and education advocacy groups. My colleagues and I worked tirelessly on these measures and the end result will be improvements to our public education system and historic pay raises for teachers. These measures will keep us competitive with other states, while improving our ability to recruit and retain teachers. I appreciate everyone’s hard work on these valuable pieces of legislation.”  – Senate Education Committee Chair Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond  “I applaud the hard work and dedication by the negotiators in both the House and Senate, who met repeatedly for many hours to get to the finish line on the education plan. This slate of bills will have a positive, lasting impact on our education system in Oklahoma. As a retired educator, I am grateful to be part of this historic funding package that helps rural and urban schools, parents, teachers and provides needed safety measures to ensure our students are kept safe.”  – former teacher Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee 

Apr 20, 2023
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Legislators Celebrate National Teacher of the Year Rebecka Peterson

Legislators from the Oklahoma House of Representatives today congratulated Rebecka Peterson, a math teacher at Union High School, for being named National Teacher of the Year for 2023 by the Council of Chief State Schools Officers (CCSSO). Peterson has taught math, ranging from Intermediate Algebra to Advanced Placement Calculus, for the past 11 years at Union High School. Rep. Jeff Boatman, R-Tulsa, said House District 67 was proud to claim Peterson as one of their own. "Rebecka represents the absolute best of Oklahoma and is a wonderful example for every educator in the state," Boatman said. "She finds new ways to make math fun and exciting while helping her students excel, and her accomplishments have set the bar high for herself, her students and educators across the state. Her exemplary work encouraging the next generation of Oklahomans to love mathematics is setting our state up for success, and I'm very proud to have Rebecka as my constituent." "It's incredibly exciting that our National Teacher of the Year is not only someone who works at a school serving my House district, but is someone who can convey complex math coursework in a way that helps our young people succeed in skills needed in life and in our future workforce," said Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow. "Congratulations to Rebecka Peterson and bless her for her dedication to helping our next generation excel." "When I heard the news, my first thought was 'well of course she won!'" said Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa, who is a former Tulsa-area public school teacher and administrator. "Rebecka has made us all so very proud. She is the finest example of the kinds of teachers who serve in Oklahoma public schools. We have the best teachers in the nation, and now the nation knows!" "I'm so proud of Rebecka," said House Common Education Chair Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon. "Her accomplishments in the classroom not only benefit her students and her school, but now has elevated Oklahoma onto the national stage, where her success story makes us all shine bright." Peterson will spend a year as an ambassador for students and teachers, where she will travel across the nation to encourage and attract more teachers to the profession. Peterson's win marks the first time that a Union High School teacher has had a finalist. It is also the first time since 1964 that Oklahoma has had a national winner.

Mar 14, 2023
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House Republicans Send Intra-District Transfer Policy to Senate

The Oklahoma House of Representatives today gave approval to legislation that would make Oklahoma the first state to implement all five recommended open enrollment best practices for public K-12 schools. House Bill 1936, authored by House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, requires school districts to approve all intra-district transfers unless the grade level of the receiving school is at capacity. If HB1936 passes the Senate, Oklahoma will become the first state to hit all five of the Reason Foundation's open enrollment best practices: cross-district open enrollment, intra-district open enrollment, transparent reporting by the State Education Agency, transparent school capacity reporting and free access to all public schools. "Oklahoma parents deserve avenues to send their children to a school that serves them best," McCall said. "Providing education options for parents and students is a top priority for House Republicans, and I'm glad to see wide support of this common-sense policy." Under the legislation, which would go into effect in Fiscal Year 2024, each school board is required to determine its capacity for intra-district transfers for each grade level in each school on a quarterly basis. The capacity information must be published prominently on the district website. HB1936 outlines order of acceptance for intra-district transfers if the transfer would exceed grade level capacity: Students who reside in the school site boundary; Students who attended the school site the prior school year; Siblings of students who are already enrolled at the school site; and then In the order in which the transfer applications were received. Any sibling of a student who transfers intra-district may attend the school site to which the student transferred, if the school district policy gives preference to sibling transfers regardless of capacity. The bill was presented on the House floor by House Education Committee Chair Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon. "Expanding open transfer will benefit more students and their families as we continue to work on ways to increase education options to fit the needs of every Oklahoma student," Baker said. "This bill still allows local school districts to set capacity limits so they aren't forced to exceed grade-level caps, but our hope is each district will work with parents trying to improve the academic outcomes of their children." A student may continue to attend the school they transferred into, unless they are denied continued transfer for a history of absences, violation of school regulation or possessing a banned item or substance. The Legislature approved inter-district open transfer in 2021. In the first full year since its implementation, over 20,000 Oklahoma students took advantage of the process. The House approved HB1936 with a 69-18 vote.