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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

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For Immediate Release: February 16, 2009

Sen. John Ford
Senator John Ford

Education Committee Approves School District Empowerment Program

State Senator John Ford has won committee passage of a bill designed to give greater local control to Oklahoma public school districts. Senate Bill 834, the School District Empowerment Program, would remove many of the unfunded state mandates currently restricting the ability of local school districts to best decide how to use resources to benefit their students.

"We pump billions of dollars into education every year, but schools are saddled with so many unfunded mandates they are extremely limited as to how those funds are used," said Ford, who represents Craig, Nowata and Washington Counties in the State Senate. "This will free up our local school districts so that the teachers, parents, school boards and administrators can develop innovative approaches and programs to give our children a better education."

Ford, who is the chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said regulations dealing with health, safety, civil rights and testing would still remain in place.

"What we are simply saying is that we entrust our local parents and schools to determine what will work best for their district and allow them the freedom and creativity to achieve the best results for their students," Ford said.

SB 834 will now move to the full Senate for consideration.

For more information contact:
Sen. Ford's Office: 405-521-5634

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