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Oklahoma State Senate
Senator John Ford, R-Bartlesville
State Capitol Room 424A
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
(405) 521-5634

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For Immediate Release: March 10, 2009

Sen. John Ford
Sen. John Ford

SCHOOL DISTRICT EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM PASSES SENATE

The State Senate approved Senator John Ford’s Senate Bill 834, 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."

Jeff Mills, Executive Director of the Oklahoma State Schools Boards Association, said the following: “The Oklahoma State School Boards Association believes that the real strength and survival of our public schools will depend on restoring the ability of local parents, citizens and policy makers to help shape their children’s educational experience.”

Ford, 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, grandparents, education professionals and school boards 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 House of Representatives for consideration.

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

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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