Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: April 23, 2014
Sen. Jim Halligan Sen. John Ford
Senate gives unanimous approval to plan
dedicating additional $600 million for schools
The full Senate has approved legislation that will
ultimately increase public school funding by $600 million annually.
Halligan, R-Stillwater, and Sen. John
Ford, R-Bartlesville, are Senate authors of House Bill 2642,
the Securing Educational Excellence Fund (SEEF). The measure was
approved unanimously on Wednesday.
“We recognize the need for additional resources for Oklahoma
schools. This plan is a fiscally responsible way to generate an
additional $600 million annually that will go directly into the
school funding formula,” Halligan said. “This bill is
an important step in helping Oklahoma students get the quality education
they need to compete and to succeed.”
HB 2642 directs a dedicated appropriation of $30 million in fiscal
year 2015, which begins on July 1, 2014. That amount would then
increase by $30 million each year through FY ’18. In FY ’19,
the ROAD Fund will reach its statutory maximum of $575 million,
freeing an additional $60 million which can then be dedicated to
In order to address concerns about an additional off-the-top earmark,
the plan includes triggers for the specified increases:
• FY ’16 – ’18 funds would only be added
if there is growth of at least one percent in General Revenue (GR).
• FY ’19 – GR growth of one percent would trigger
$30 million, two percent would trigger the full $60 million.
• If GR funds decline, there will be no additional allocation
to SEEF until the previous high in GR is exceeded.
In addition, the measure has safeguards that will prevent SEEF
funds from taking the place of additional appropriations—Halligan
noted that had occurred with the lottery funds that were supposed
to have dramatically increased education funding. HB 2642 requires
the State Board of Equalization to find that the funds are not supplanted,
meaning they can’t take the place of previous appropriations.
Ford, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, said the goal is
to make sure the additional funds actually are used in the classroom,
directly benefiting Oklahoma students.
“We know we have to increase the number of students who complete
high school and make sure when they graduate they have mastered
the skills they need to do well in college without remediation,
or in CareerTech, or in the workforce,” Ford said. “This
legislation will help provide the resources we need to do that.”
The authors said achieving those goals would require more time in
the classroom, noting the cost for adding an additional day of instruction
would be about $22 million. The measure requires for every additional
$60 million, one day of instruction will be added.
Rep. Lee Denney chairs the House Appropriations and Budget Common
Education Subcommittee and is the House author of HB 2642. She said
work would likely continue on the bill in conference committee,
but said she was extremely encouraged by the Senate’s passage
of the legislation.
“This brings us one step closer to enacting a plan resulting
in a meaningful long-term investment in our public schools,”
said Denney, R-Cushing. “We support our schools and the dedicated
educators who are working in classrooms throughout the state to
give Oklahoma students the best future possible.”
For more information, contact:
Sen. Halligan: (405) 521-5572
Sen. Ford: (405) 521-5634