Co-President Pro Tempore
Senator Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City
State Capitol Room 418
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: March
State Senate Passes GOP Education Reforms
Major components of the Senate Republicans’
education reform agenda received bipartisan support in the Oklahoma
Senate on Thursday.
The Senate voted in favor of a tax credit for private school scholarship
programs, an expansion of charter school sponsors to include federally-recognized
Native American tribes, and a pilot program that would deregulate
10 public school districts.
“These reforms are critical to improving education in Oklahoma,”
stated Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn
Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. “We’re very happy to see
bipartisan support for the Senate Republicans’ plan to improve
education for the children of Oklahoma.”
A. Williamson, R-Tulsa, successfully attached his amendment
creating the New Hope Scholarship Program to SB 1556 on a 30 to
18 vote. Williamson’s amendment provides a tax credit for
taxpayers who contribute to organizations that provide scholarships
for low income children to attend an elementary or secondary private
school in a county with a population of more than 450,000.
“We have too many students who have no choice but to attend
schools that year after year are rated as ‘need improvement,’
especially in Tulsa and Oklahoma counties. The New Hope Scholarship
gives the parents of children in these schools a second chance for
a good education by encouraging contributions to these private scholarship
programs,” Williamson said.
Sen. John Ford, R-Bartlesville, successfully passed SB 2100 through
the Senate on a 27 to 19 vote. The bill creates a trial program
that would allow 10 entire school districts in Oklahoma to be removed
from many state mandates and regulations.
“SB 2100 gives school districts the choice to move out from
under many state regulations, making way for creativity in education
and giving parents more opportunities and options for their children’s
education. With this innovative pilot program the burden of many
state mandates is removed, the locally elected school board is given
more input in what happens in the district, and at the same time
the state retains oversight to ensure that student achievement is
maintained or improved,” stated Ford.
The Senate also adopted SB 1669 by Coffee on a 26 to 19 vote. The
bill would allow Native American tribes to establish charter schools
in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties. Current law allows the state’s
largest public school districts and public universities to establish
charter schools, which are public schools established by contract
with sponsors Charter schools are freed from many mandates and regulations.
“SB 1669 gives parents of children in failing public schools
more education alternatives for their children. Charter schools
provide a much-needed complement to traditional public education
and are excelling in areas where traditional urban school settings
have not. Native American tribes will be an excellent partner in
Oklahoma’s charter school program,” Coffee said.
For more information contact:
Senator Williamson's Office: (405) 521-5624