Sen. Boren files resolution requiring equitable funding of public schools
Mike Seals - January 15, 2021 10:32 am
OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Mary Boren, D-Norman, has filed legislation to allow Oklahoma voters to raise the standard for public school funding in the state constitution. Senate Joint Resolution 9 would create a state question to require the legislature to “make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient and equitable system of free public schools”. This would replace current constitutional language mandating the legislature to “establish and maintain a system of free public schools.”
“I’ve filed SJR 9 to solidify in our constitution the highest standard of public schools for our families and future Oklahomans. By adding the words ‘efficient and equitable’ to the constitution, the standards are elevated to ensure equitable state funding of all schools in every zip code,” Boren said. “For too long, the legislature has ignored the financial needs of our state’s public schools to the detriment of Oklahoma’s students, especially those living in areas with lower property values. Since 1990 when the historic education reforms and funding increases in HB 1017 were enacted, special interests have succeeded in shifting the state burden to local taxpayers, which has defunded public schools in many communities, and eroded the equity in our schools.”
Having served as a Carl Albert Executive Fellow for the State Regents of Higher Education, the director for the State Textbook Committee and a certified school counselor, Boren has extensive experience in various areas of public education. She is a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.
“It’s time for Oklahomans to raise the standard in our constitution for public schools so that every parent has the chance to send their child to a fully funded neighborhood school regardless of where they live,” Boren said. “We have watched schools in rural and urban areas close due to low property values, and our constitution needs to raise the standard to protect those students and their families.”
SJR 9 will be up for consideration when the legislature convenes in February.