Oklahoma School Voucher Bill Put On Hold

Wednesday, March 1st 2017, 6:59 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

A school voucher bill took a hit after the senator who authored it, laid it over.

The bill would have allowed parents in Oklahoma, Tulsa and Cleveland counties to move their children and some of the tax dollars used to educate their children to other schools if they chose to. But Wednesday, the bill’s author said it’s going to take more work to get other lawmakers on board.

“These schools are failing these kids. They continue to,” said Senator Rob Standridge (R) Majority Whip told his colleagues. “They’ve done it for decades.”

Senator Standridge said he believes he has enough votes in the Senate to get it passed, but not in the House of Representatives. He said the education lobby is just too powerful.

“They are, and the sad part is the education community that is, pardon me, making up numbers and scaring rural legislators primarily are lying in order to save the power they have,” said Senator Standridge.

Opponents say don’t blame the lobbyists.

“There was a huge coalition of parents, community members, and education employees that weren’t for this ideology of taking money away from our already underfunded public schools and giving it to private schools,” said Alicia Priest of the Oklahoma Education Association.

By laying over the bill, there’s little chance it will be heard again this session, but, Priest said, “Those who make the rules can change the rules. So, if there’s shenanigans it could come up again, but I believe the people have spoken loud and clear.”

Senator Standridge said he may try again this session. “If we don’t give these kids a good education and teach them to read and allow them to have success they’re going to end up crowding our prisons. I guarantee it.”