By Sen. Gary Stanislawski, Tulsa
A recent column by Alberto Morejon suggested Oklahoma’s Equal Opportunity Education Scholarships don’t benefit people considered lower-income, so he considers the program an attack on public schools.
The column references a bill that would make more tax credits available to people who donate to schools.
To be clear: The bill increases the tax credit cap available for donors who put their own dollars into education. It does not remove money from education funding.
In fact, it gives equal benefits for donations to public schools and for scholarships to help lower-income families.
Critics have implied it’s inappropriate for people at certain income levels to receive scholarships to the schools they choose. There are two problems with this argument.
First, the vast majority of families who receive tuition support fall well below the maximum allowed income level.
Second, looking solely at income is misleading. Some families also have large debts and expenses, leaving little money left over.
Opponents seem focused on protecting institutions. Instead, I support Sen. Dave Rader’s bill, which focuses on making more donor money — all private dollars — available for all kinds of education, regardless of their skin color, economic status or ZIP code.
Critics of the bill look at data and decide some people aren’t worth helping.
Fortunately, myself, Sen. Rader and many others in the Legislature look at our state and seek solutions to help all children.
Editor’s Note: Gary Stanislawski is a state senator representing District 35. He is chairman of the Senate Education Committee and a former member of the Jenks School Board.