The State Senate gave final passage to Senate Bill 834 – the School District Empowerment Program sponsored by Senator John Ford (R-Bartlesville) Wednesday. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for his approval.
If signed by the Governor, the School District Empowerment Program will remove many of the unfunded state mandates currently restricting the ability of local school districts to best decide how to use resources to benefit their students.
Ford, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said even though we pump millions of dollars into education each year, schools are still saddled with so many mandates that limit how these funds are used.
“Senate Bill 834 is simply an education local empowerment bill that will free-up teachers to teach,” said Ford, who represents Craig, Nowata and Washington Counties in the State Senate. “And when our school boards are freed from state mandates, they can implement local programs tailored to local needs.”
“The School District Empowerment Program entrusts our local parents, grandparents, education professionals and school boards, with the task of determining what will work best for their district and give them the freedom and creativity to achieve the best results for their students,” Ford continued.
SB 834 has been endorsed by the Oklahoma State School Board Association, the Cooperative Council of School Administrators, the Oklahoma Business and Education Coalition, the suburban and rural school associations, and the OKC, Tulsa, and State Chambers.
“Education professionals from across Oklahoma join me in urging the Governor to sign this important legislation,” Ford said. “The time is right for these reforms to our public education system,” he concluded.