Stitt signs 2 education bills despite opposition

Mike Seals - April 1, 2021 12:20 am

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday quickly signed into law two public education measures that were approved by the Legislature despite bipartisan opposition.

Stitt signed a Senate bill that makes it easier for students to transfer districts and a House bill that changes the state aid funding formula starting in the 2022-23 school year.

Both bills were passed by the Legislature Wednesday and sent to Stitt, who held a brief signing ceremony with Republican legislative leaders.

The bill to modify the state funding formula directs that funding will be calculated based on student counts from the previous year, rather than the highest of the previous two years, among other things. Supporters say the change will allow state funding to more quickly follow students when they move districts.

Critics, including Republican State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, said the change would particularly harm rural schools, where district enrollment can fluctuate dramatically based on economic factors.

“This bill removes financial safeguards meant to protect all students from the impact of abrupt changes in the local economy,” Hofmeister said in a statement. “Kids will lose when schools are forced to make sudden cuts in essential services and opportunities which provide access to a well-rounded education.”



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