Oklahoma has become the latest state to adopt education choice legislation following Gov. Kevin Stitt’s signature Wednesday on two reform measures.
House Bill 2078, which passed the Senate 27-19, changes the formula for distributing state aid to Oklahoma’s public schools. Senate Bill 783, which passed the House 65-30, removes most barriers to student transfers among districts at any time during the school year as long as those students meet discipline and attendance standards and the receiving school has room for them.
Stitt called Wednesday “a monumental day for education reform in Oklahoma,” noting that education is not one-size-fits-all.
“These bills allow parents and students to have the freedom to attend the best public school for them regardless of their ZIP code,” Stitt said. “Additionally, modernizing the funding formula ensures funding follows the student, not the school. These reforms are vital to getting Oklahoma to be a Top 10 state in education, and I am proud of this Republican legislature for its dedication to putting students first.”
Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters called the bill signing “historic.”
“We have transformed funding for every single student in the state and empowered them to choose a school that best fits their needs,” Walters said. “These two bills will work seamlessly together to have an immediate impact on the way we educate Oklahoma’s students and I commend our state leaders for getting this across the finish line.”
The state’s major education associations opposed both bills. One critic charged that the true intent of the bills is to allow Stitt and legislative leaders to claim education reform victories without putting any money into the system.