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Charter schools dominate discussion in legislature before session begins

Charter schools dominate discussion at the capitol
Posted at 4:44 PM, Sep 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-12 18:22:32-04

TULSA, Okla. — Many lawmakers are working to bring education funding back to the level it was more than ten years ago.

But now there's more student options than ever, everything from public to charter and virtual schools. As alternative models grow, the legislature is also looking to increase oversight.

"Perhaps giving them some more teeth or more accountability for: when you're struggling what do you do? Because we have to support our kids here in Oklahoma and our families." Representative Melissa Provenzano said.

This comes during an audit of Epic Virtual Charter Schools amid allegations of the founders splitting profits.

As virtual programs explode in popularity, lawmakers tell 2 Works for You they believe this topic will dominate conversation in the session ahead.

"One of the top reasons parents choose virtual is they say they're having social issues at the public schools and I think we don't want to run away from the problem. We need to tackle the problems head-on at the public schools as well and provide the support that we need," Provenzano said.

The common education committee began looking into potential legislation on these topics Wednesday, before bills are written this fall.

"If we can properly serve our public schools and if we can give it the resources it needs to succeed I think we're going to find a lot fewer parents looking for other options because they'll see quality education available to every child in the public school, in the public square," Representative John Waldron said.

Next week lawmakers will focus on blended and virtual learning in public schools.

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