Dills Studies Bilingual and Transportation Issues for Schools

Mike Seals - September 22, 2020 11:07 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa, and State Sen. Joe Newhouse, R-Broken Arrow, on Tuesday held joint interim studies before the Common Education Committees that focused on the State Aid Funding Formula and the Bilingual, ELL and Transportation components.

The first study examined bilingual education funding, testing, qualifying conditions, school procedures and transparency and accountability. The second targeted transportation funding in the changing virtual environment as well as funding for schools that utilizing city transit systems, and the 1.5-mile rule for school districts bus routes.

“The needs of our children today are different than the needs of our children when the funding formula was established 40 years ago,” Dills said. “It is time we begin the process of adjusting the weights for state aid to ensure taxpayer dollars are meeting the needs of our children, and our government is operating efficiently.”

Newhouse added, “This joint interim study explored ways to improve our education funding formula so non-English speakers can receive the instruction and help they need to become proficient English speakers. We also studied ways transportation costs can be appropriately accounted for and reimbursed. Moving forward, we must be very intentional with how we spend our taxpayer dollars to make the greatest impact for our Oklahoma students.”

Other presenters at Tuesday’s bilingual study included:

  • State Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, chair of the Senate Education Committee and chair of the State Aid Funding Formula Task Force from 2017-18;
  • Matt Richmond, chief program officer for Ed Build, an organization working to bring fairness to school funding formulas, speaking on the Oklahoma State Aid Formula as well as bilingual and English language learners;
  • Dan Ruhl, executive director of English Proficiency for the Oklahoma State Department of Education; and
  • Chris Berry, director of language and cultural service for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Presenters for the transportation study included:

  • Monty Guthrie, deputy superintendent of finance and federal programs;
  • Ron Flanagan, Muldrow Public Schools;
  • Jason Simeroth, Yukon Public Schools;
  • Daniel G. Thatcher, J.D. National Conference of State Legislatures Senior Fellow in Education
  • Richmond and Stanislawki also spoke during this study.


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