TULSA, Okla. — Five Tulsa area school districts, including Tulsa Public Schools, voted Monday night to file claims against the Oklahoma State Board of Education.
This comes after the state board voted in March to equalize funding between charter schools and traditional public schools.
Tonight the Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education voted to authorize the school district’s attorneys to file claims against the Oklahoma State Board of Education in the pending Oklahoma County district court case the district joined in 2017. Tonight's action stems from the State Board's recent and unexpected (4-3) vote to resolve the 2017 litigation and redistribute local and state-dedicated sources of revenue to charter schools, including virtual charter schools like Epic, effective July 1, 2021.
Dr. Deborah Gist, the superintendent with Tulsa Public Schools, said she opposes the state’s decision to equalize funding between charter and traditional public schools.
In a statement, Gist said it would unlawfully redistribute millions of local taxpayer dollars away from traditional public schools. She also said it would harm students in every rural, suburban and urban district in Oklahoma.
Meanwhile, Gov. Kevin Stitt support's the state board's decision, and he said it is the right one for Oklahoma students. He also said public school students should not be punished for succeeding in a charter school setting.
Other districts taking action against the state board include Jenks, Sapulpa, Broken Arrow and Owasso Public Schools.
The actions of the State Board of Education on March 25, 2021 could significantly diminish funding for traditional public school districts. While we are hopeful this issue can be resolved without legal action, we have a responsibility to our students to do everything in our power to protect Jenks' taxpayer dollars used to create educational opportunities and preserve an exceptional learning environment here at JPS. We will join with other districts from across the state in an effort to ensure Jenks' taxpayer dollars are used to support Jenks Public Schools' students.
The Sapulpa School Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night to authorize the school district’s attorney to initiate legal action against the Oklahoma State Board of Education. The authorization is in response to the state board’s decision on March 25 to settle a lawsuit filed by the Oklahoma Public Charter School Association that will redistribute local and state revenue to charter schools.
At Broken Arrow Public Schools, we uphold four core values in which we are each accountable to serve our students, our district, and our community. The recent actions of the Oklahoma State Board of Education on March 25, 2021, could have a lasting impact on how funding is calculated for traditional public schools for years to come. The BAPS Board of Education unanimously voted to authorize the school district’s attorney to initiate legal action against the State Board of Education to protect taxpayer dollars from being taken out of our classrooms, joining other districts across the state who are doing the same in the name of fair practices. We do not take this responsibility lightly and hope this action will ensure that our students will continue to receive the best education possible from a team of hard-working teachers, administrators, and support personnel.
The board voted 5-0 to authorize the school district’s attorney, in consultation with the Superintendent of Schools, to initiate legal action against the Oklahoma State Board of Education (“Board”) to address the equalization of funding as set forth in the Board’s Resolution approved at the Board’s special meeting on March 25, 2021.
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