Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: December 13, 2018
files bills to increase oversight and accountability of virtual
Sen. Ron Sharp
filed legislation to modify several Virtual Charter School laws
in Oklahoma. The 40-year retired educator said his bills are an
effort to increase virtual charter school accountability and oversight.
“There has been public outcry in recent years to improve public
education and that includes virtual charter schools where millions
of taxpayer dollars are being spent with little to no accountability
of expenditures, attendance or student performance,” said
Sharp, R-Shawnee. “People are tired of low rankings, poor
test scores and high dropout rates yet these problems exist in our
virtual charter schools and the state continues to pour money into
them. Educators around the state are demanding changes.”
Sharp said his bills concerning virtual charter schools were requested
by several district superintendents and school board members from
around the state.
“Among the issues my bills tackle is ensuring students are
actually enrolled in the virtual charter school and successfully
completing their work. Currently, there is no system to track whether
or not students have enrolled or dropped out or are completing their
studies yet these schools continue to receive state funding,”
explained Sharp. “School districts are also upset that state
funds are being wasted on private extracurricular lessons for virtual
charter students and that they’re using state funds to provide
exorbitant bonuses to teachers to recruit other teachers and students.
There must be more transparency and oversight regarding attendance,
student performance, expenditures and other areas.”
SB 52 would prohibit public schools, charter schools and virtual
charter schools from spending state-appropriated funds on private
extracurricular lessons, such as gymnastics or music lessons.
SB 53 would prohibit a dependent school district (K-8th) from converting
all or any part of the district into a conversion school allowing
it to act like a charter school. It also prohibits any conversion
school from contracting with a management organization.
SB 54 would establish a new funding process for virtual charter
schools based on course completion/progress. For the 2019-20 school
year, the school would be provided monthly payments based on enrolled
student performance to be tracked through student surveys that the
schools would submit monthly. Payment would only be provided if
a student makes a D or better in a course.
SB 55 would require all appointed members of the Statewide
Virtual Charter School Board to be appointed by the Governor with
the advice and consent of the Senate. Currently, only two members
are appointed by the Governor. It would subject the Board to the
Open Meeting Act and the Open Records Act. Among other changes,
it would require the Board to employ a virtual charter school director
to provide the State Superintendent of Public Instruction with information
about whether the courses offered by virtual charter schools align
with the state subject matter standards. The State Superintendent
would be required to report twice a year to legislative leadership
about the performance and funding status of virtual charter schools.
SB 56 would require virtual charter schools to submit attendance
records of enrolled students to the student’s resident district.
If a student fails to meet the attendance requirements established
in law, the resident district would be notified, and the resident
district would notify the Department of Human services (DHS) that
the student might not be in compliance with the compulsory attendance
SB 57 would prohibit public schools, charter schools and virtual
charter schools from providing bonuses for the recruitment of students
Sharp held an interim study on Charter School Funding and Its Effect
on the Education Equalization Formula in September. Presentations
from that study can be found on the Senate website at www.oksenate.gov
under “Committees” and “Interim Studies”
(Study 18-27). The bills can also be viewed in their entirety under
“Legislation” and “Basic Bill Search”.
The bills will be up for consideration in Senate committees when
the legislative session begins on Monday, February 4.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Sharp: (405) 521-5566