House Democrats Letter to Gov. Stitt Regarding Education Funding

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Governor J. Kevin Stitt,

Throughout this crisis, we’ve seen public school teachers, support staff, and administrators mobilize in countless new ways to serve their students. Initially, unrecognized needs have become apparent, and we now need to provide funding for additional supports for teachers and students in our public school system.

We respectfully request that you reconsider your intent to "backfill the Equal Opportunity Scholarship," and refocus those dollars on serving the more than 700,000 students in our public schools across Oklahoma.

We request the following investments and expenditures:

We support our parents who choose to send their children to private schools, yet the "backfilling of the Equal Opportunity Scholarship" is not an appropriate expenditure for monies awarded by the federal government as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, especially given the revenue failure declared this week.

Why not? Any school receiving tax dollars should be held to public school accountability standards and accept all students who apply, as public schools must. Vouchers don't cover all expenses incurred by a student at a private school, so families who receive a voucher are priced out of it based on their ability to pay. The impact these dollars would have if allocated this way would be minimal compared to the long term benefits if invested in our public school system.

Governor Stitt, we respectfully request that you consider using these federal taxpayer dollars towards efforts that will benefit the more than 700,000 students served by public schools in Oklahoma. We know that the $40 million will not cover all of the investments above, but rather it provides the solid foundation needed where it will do the most good for Oklahomans.

Our public school system was designed to help all of our young people become better citizens and more productive members of society - not just the ones admitted to private schools. The current crisis is leaving behind far too many – those who lack internet access, students with special needs, and students who are facing adverse childhood experiences. Parents are choosing our public schools. We ask that you do the same.


House Democratic Caucus