Oklahoma

Bill in Oklahoma aims to change the way education is funded

A new law in the state capitol aims to change how Oklahoma finances education. It would replace federal dollars with government funds. KOCO 5 spoke to officials on both sides of the issue to see how they thought it would affect schools across the state. “The status quo in education has placed us 49th in student scores. This is not acceptable for our children, our parents demand better. And so we have to make sure there’s a return on investment for all that taxpayer money,” Superintendent Ryan Walters said, using state funds. It’s an idea that Walters picked up on during his campaign. “Based on what I’ve heard from Oklahomaans, we’re seeing Joe Biden’s federal government push radical ideologies into our classrooms through federal funding,” Walters said. The state’s new superintendent thinks there are several examples, all of which don’t belong in the classroom, he said. Some lawmakers said they have their eye on this. We used to say, ‘There’s no way that’s going to happen,’ are starting to move,” said Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, (D) HD 46th Sen. David Bullard is the sponsor of the bill, but his office said he could not comment on Wednesday. Rosecrants, a former teacher, said it would hurt students, especially in rural areas. Rosecrants said. He believes that without a government source of funding, teachers would be disadvantaged. “So much of our funding comes from Title 1, so much of it comes from federal sources City School, because of those funds,” Rosecrants said. The first reading of the new bill will take place on February 6th. Walters told KOCO 5 he plans to put a budget in place at Thursday’s state education board meeting, including performance-based teacher pay increases.

A new bill in the state capitol aims to change how Oklahoma funds education.

It would replace federal dollars with government funds. KOCO 5 spoke to officials on both sides of the issue to see how they thought it would affect schools across the state.

“The status quo in education has placed us 49th in student scores. This is unacceptable for our children, our parents demand better. So we have to make sure all this tax money pays off,” said Ryan Walters, Superintendent.

A new bill was introduced that aims to phase out state funding for public education in Oklahoma and replace it with state funding. It’s an idea that Walters came up with during his campaign.

“Based on what I’ve heard from Oklahomans, we’re seeing Joe Biden’s federal government pushing radical ideologies into our classrooms through federal funding,” Walters said.

The new governor says there are several examples of this, none of which belong in the classroom, he said.

“Whether it’s critical race theory, diversity equity and inclusion programs, or a common core,” Walters said.

If passed, Senate Bill 863 would create a 10-year plan to completely phase out federal funding for preschool through 12th grade, and state taxpayers’ money would top up. Some lawmakers said they were keeping an eye on it.

“As we’ve seen in these past few sessions, bills on which we used to write in chalk, ‘There’s no way that’s going to happen,’ are starting to move,” said Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, (D)HD 46.

Senator David Bullard is the sponsor of the bill, but his office said he could not comment on Wednesday. Rosecrants, a former teacher, said it would hurt students, especially in rural areas.

“Has he spoken to his superintendents or the folks in the schools there to ask how moving federal dollars would harm their public schools?” Rosenkraut said.

He believes that without federal funding, teachers would be disadvantaged.

“So much of our funding comes from Title 1, so much of it comes from federal sources. We had iPads and so much cool stuff at my downtown school because of those funds,” Rosecrants said.

The first reading of the new bill will take place on February 6th. Walters told KOCO 5 that he plans to come up with a budget at Thursday’s state education board meeting, including salary increases for teachers based on merit.

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