House Dems Call for Funding, Pan Governor’s ‘Education Turnaround’
Mike Seals - May 25, 2021 11:17 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY — House Democrats released the following statements today in response to Governor Kevin Stitt declaring the “Year of Oklahoma’s Education Turnaround” based on legislation passed this session.
Rep. Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa:
“If Governor Stitt was in office when we passed historic, bipartisan revenue increases in 2018, Oklahoma would still be in the same dire situation we were in before the teacher walkout.
“The Governor wants to have it both ways. As a candidate, he ran against the legislation that created needed revenue to invest in public education. Now, he is bragging about spending it. I just wish he didn’t give part of it to private schools and more than $100 million to corporations.
“This is an education turnaround. Under the Governor’s watch, Oklahoma is actively taking money for our public school system and turning around to give it to corporations and the wealthiest folks in the state.”
Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa:
“Our ‘historic’ investment into public education still leaves Oklahoma in last place for per-student spending in our region. Lawmakers know this but still decided to give a $25 million tax credit to private schools.
“Additionally, there will be long-term repercussions to the way the funding formula was scrambled this session, and we did so against the recommendations of policy experts.
“Public schools continue to be underfunded because the Oklahoma Legislature would rather give tax cuts and credits to corporations than properly fund public education.”
Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman:
“It is hard to say our investment is historic when every state around us has done the same or better for their students. I believe firmly that Oklahoma students deserve the best, but we can’t give them that when we prioritize investment into private corporations.”
Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa:
“Open transfers are already policy. The open transfer legislation this session was a thinly disguised attack on public education based on the myth that children are trapped in a failing school system. Oklahoma’s public schools continue to serve the vast majority of our children, and they serve them well.
“It is as though we began to fund our public schools after the 2018 teacher walkout and now our Oklahoma Education Turnaround is to go back to a policy of ignoring the importance of public education – not only to Oklahoma students but rural communities as well.”