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Education

Open Transfer, School Funding Bills Pass Out Of Oklahoma House

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A pair of bills that change the way schools are funded and open up transfers for K-12 students, passed through the Oklahoma State House of Representatives Wednesday.

The bills have been lauded by Governor Kevin Stitt and criticized by public school advocates.

House Bill 2074 would allow students to transfer at any point during the school year. Now, they’re limited to specific windows.

“Parents must maintain the ability to consider another public school if they find their child’s needs are not being met at their current school,” said Rep. Brad Boles (R-Marlow) of HB2074.

House Bill 2078 would limit the number of years used in the state’s funding formula. Proponents say the move will keep public dollars with students and opponents say it will strip money from schools that have lost enrollment.

“If we ever want to change our status of being bottom ten in education outcomes, we must quit doing things the way they’ve always been done," said Rep. Kyle Hilbert (R-Bristow), who authored HB2078. "The current formula results in students being double or triple counted if they move between schools. This has to end.”

House Minority Leader Emily Virgin (D-Norman) opposed the bills.

"Both bills focus on pulling funding and students from schools who are struggling so as to incentivize them to ‘perform better.’ The problem is this -- it fundamentally does nothing to address what is truly needed to help the students in those schools," said Virgin in a statement.

Virgin said addressing food insecurity, providing adequate resources to overcrowded classrooms and increasing the number of school counselors would help struggling schools.

Both bills passed overwhelmingly after lengthy debate. The measures will now move over to the Senate.

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