For Immediate Release
February 21, 2017
Angela Allmond, Communications Director
Oklahoma Democratic Party
School Vouchers Divert Public Funding and Taxpayers’ Money to Unaccountable Private Schools
OKLAHOMA CITY – House Bill 560, introduced by Senator Rob Standridge R-Norman, is no more than an avenue for Republicans to push privatizing education. Instead of diverting taxpayer’s money to voucher programs that take additional funding away from struggling Oklahoma public schools, lawmakers should be concentrating on how to bring in revenue to increase teacher pay, incentives to retain teachers in Oklahoma, and improving public education.
HB 560 is limited to Oklahoma, Cleveland, and Tulsa Counties. Students that qualify for the federal free or reduced lunch program would be permitted to use 90% of their state aid towards private schools, while only 10% would remain in the district for public schools. Most eligible and better performing private schools approved by the Oklahoma Private School Accrediting Council, a requirement for voucher qualification, cost families tens of thousands in tuition. This makes the difference in the average available $2,700 a drop in the bucket to the total cost of a private education and cost prohibitive to many low-income students on the federal reduced lunch program.
Most voucher programs limit the government’s ability to administer oversight and accountability measures on private schools. There is little evidence to support that school vouchers deliver better outcomes for students while taxpayers’ money is used to give private schools the control to choose who can attend versus an all-inclusive public education.
At a time when Oklahoma is experiencing a growing budget crisis, and potentially another $34.6 million in cuts to all agencies, public schools and our children will suffer the most harm from losing addition funding to school privatization in the form of vouchers.
The mission of the Oklahoma Democratic Party is to represent working people in Oklahoma and the best way to accomplish that is to elect Democrats to all areas of government. Oklahoma Democrats are progressive and sensible. We are optimistic about the future, and we are determined to see Oklahoma’s traditional values upheld. More information about the Oklahoma Democratic Party can be found at www.okdlive.wpengine.com or by calling (405) 427-3366.