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

For Immediate Release: February 16, 2010

Committee Clears Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Act

The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday approved legislation intended to broaden the number of private school scholarships awarded to students from lower-income households. Sen. Dan Newberry, author of Senate Bill 1922, said his proposal would empower parents with the ability to direct their child’s education, allowing more students to unlock their learning potential.

“Our families deserve options, and our elected officials must make it a priority to strengthen the ability of parents to have a greater say in their child’s education,” said Newberry, R-Tulsa. “Providing a quality education for our young people should be the foremost goal of any healthy and growing state. This legislation gives us a chance to affirm our commitment to that goal.”

The Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Act would provide companies and individuals additional incentive to donate greater amounts to scholarship funds through tax credits. Credits would be authorized for contributions to organizations that award scholarships to qualifying low-income and eligible special-needs students.

Newberry discussed the legislation in a Tuesday press conference at St. John Christian Heritage Academy in Oklahoma City. He was joined by Patrick Byrne, Chairman and CEO of Overstock.com and Co-Chairman of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Also speaking in support of the proposal were Betty Mason, Superintendent of St. John Christian Heritage Academy, and Rep. Jabar Shumate. Mason is a former Superintendent of the Oklahoma City public school system.

“I’m very grateful for the broad support we’ve seen for this measure,” Newberry said. “Ultimately these expanded opportunities will allow students to flourish and maximize their potential. The possibility of a brighter future for these students also translates to a brighter future for our communities and state.”

The Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Act is co-authored by Rep. Lee Denney. The bill now advances to the full Senate for consideration.

For more information contact:
Sen. Newberry: 405-521-5600