The OK House of Representatives has approved a two-part plan by Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, to provide a $500 million investment to public education and create the Oklahoma Parental Choice Tax Credit Act.
House Bill 2775 includes a $500 million increase in funding for public schools throughout the state that will fund $2,500 minimum pay raises for every teacher not designated as an administrator; $50 million to be distributed to schools receiving below-average funding from annual local tax revenue; and $300 million to be distributed to public school districts on a per-pupil basis.
HB2775 outlines how the appropriated monies can be spent, including on teacher and support staff raises, STEM programs, instructional materials, fees for nationally standardized assessments, summer education programs, after-school programs, student support services, or tuition and fees for concurrent enrollment. It passed 78-20.
House Bill 1935 creates the Oklahoma Parental Choice Tax Credit Act, which would allow a $5,000 annual tax credit for parents of eligible students that attend private schools and a $2,500 credit for students educated by other means. The bill includes a provision allowing parents to request an advance on the tax credit to help pay for the upcoming semester. HB1935 passed 75-25.
“Delivering the best education possible to our children is one of the most important services we can provide as a state,” McCall said. “Investing in our kids is investing in the future. This plan works for every student, every parent and every teacher in every school.”
Both bills were presented on the floor by House Education Committee Chair Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon.
“Today’s actions will give children the brighter future they deserve and ensure students can find the schools best suited for them,” Baker said. “It also adds to already record-high funding amounts going to our public school classrooms and to the teachers that play such a vital role in a student’s success. Our students, parents and teachers deserve the best.”