Senate Approves Historic Education Funding Package

Ponca City Now - March 31, 2023 6:42 am

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Senate today gave passage to its historic $700 million education package.

Senators voted overwhelmingly on both measures 40 – to – 7 on House Bill 1935 and 46 – to – 2 on House Bill 2775, approving the single largest appropriations increase to education in state history, sending it back to the House of Representatives.

Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, said the Senate did its job and delivered for teachers, children and parents.

“Today is a great day for education in Oklahoma,” Pro Tem Treat said. “My Senate colleagues and I passed measures that, when signed into law will make drastic improvements to public education, reward our teaches, empower parents to make the best choice for their kids and fund students, not systems.”

Senate Education Package

Over $700 million for Education

The Senate is proposing the single largest appropriations increase to education in history with the passage of HB 1935 and HB 2775.

HB 1935 will give parents additional options and control over their children’s education by providing a $100 million investment in school choice. This bill provides a $7,500 tax credit per eligible student each tax year if the eligible student attends a private school and the family has an income of less than $250,000. The bill also provides for a $1,000 tax credit per family, for certain qualified expenditures, each tax year if one or more eligible students is homeschooled. Valid receipts must be provided to OTC to receive the $1,000 tax credit.

HB 2775 appropriates $500,000,000 to the State Board of Education for the purpose of providing Oklahoma teachers a pay raise as well as substantially increasing the State Aid Formula.

HB 2775 will also appropriate $30 million for the creation of the Rewarding Excellent Educators Grant Program. This program will provide grant funds to school districts to implement qualitative bonus pay plans for eligible teachers and eligible support employees.

Other Senate education measures sent to the House include:

  • $16.5 million for eight weeks of paid maternity leave for teachers who become new mothers;
  • $41 million for the Oklahoma Teacher Corps Program which will aid schools by paying for tuition and fees for students who agree to teach for four years in a Title I School;
  • $1.6 million for a teacher mentorship program, providing mentor teachers with a $500 annual stipend;
  • A pilot program to provide on-site childcare services to specific districts, contracted childcare to the district, or to provide stipends to employees to help cover childcare costs;
  • $20 million for school safety and security. Schools will be able to undergo a risk and vulnerability assessment to enable schools to have the best plan in place to protect their children; and
  • Providing additional funding to school districts dedicated to pay for additional certifications and credentials for teachers.
 

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