Communications & Public Affairs
April 21, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wes Carter, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus
House Democrats Letter: Public Money Should Go to Public Schools
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus has sent a letter urging Gov. Kevin Stitt to commit federal stimulus dollars to public education.
The letter comes after it was reported that Oklahoma will receive $40 million in stimulus money for education. The stimulus package gives the governor discretion to spend the money on public or private institutions.
“We wrote this letter to make sure the governor understands not only our position but the position of Oklahoma’s education community,” said Rep. Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa). “700,000 Oklahoma students are served by our public schools. Public money that is earmarked for education should first and foremost go toward improving the educational opportunities for these children.”
The Democratic Caucus letter pointed to different ways the money could be spent for the betterment of Oklahoma students. The list included support for teachers spending money on technology, maintenance and infrastructure, protecting teacher employment, special education resources, and additional social workers and counselors in our education system.
“The needs of our public school system are many,” Provenzano said. “As a public school teacher, it would be incomprehensible to see the governor take public funds and give them to private schools.”
The governor made comments at a recent press conference that he saw an opportunity to use the money to back fill scholarship programs that benefit private schools.
“Between talking about cuts to agencies and now sending public tax dollars to private schools, it is becoming harder and harder to see the governor as an advocate for government services,” said Minority Leader Emily Virgin (D-Norman). “As lawmakers, we are constitutionally charged with adequately funding public education. In the face of next year’s $1.3 billion revenue shortfall, it would be insulting to many Oklahomans if this money was funneled to private schools.”