TULSA, Okla. — Gov. Kevin Stitt signed two education bills into law Wednesday night. One has to do with funding for schools, the other with student transfers.
The bills caused heated debate. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister describes one of them as a setback for Oklahoma's public education.
The first, House Bill 2078 changes the formula for how public schools get state money. Starting in the 2022-23 school year, districts will be required to use enrollment data from the preceding school year to calculate state aid allocation instead of using the larger enrollment number of the preceding two school years.
There are also changes to how mid-year adjustments are calculated.
Senate Bill 783 removes most barriers for students to transfer among districts. They will also be able to transfer at any time during the school year.
The governor calls these bills the most transformative education reform in state history.
“I heard from so many parents who felt trapped," Stitt said. "All they wanted was the option to send their kids to school in person. Now, Oklahoma students and parents never again will be denied the chance to go to the school that best fits their needs."
Stitt said the bills allow parents and students the freedom to choose a school regardless of zip code.
Hofmeister said it marks "one step forward and two steps back for public education".
"Today marks one step forward and two steps back for public education. While Senate Bill 783 holds real promise for many families and students, House Bill 2078 unfortunately compromises any gains that would come with open transfers.
Children in rural Oklahoma deserve to have a high quality education and HB 2078 potentially jeopardizes that. This bill removes financial safeguards meant to protect all students from the impact of abrupt changes in the local economy. Kids will lose when schools are forced to make sudden cuts in essential services and opportunities which provide access to a well-rounded education."
Hofmeister argues the HB 2078 removes financial safeguards meant to protect all students from the impact of abrupt changes in the local economy.
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