By: Staff Reports | March 19, 2021 Despite financial hardship brought by the COVID-19 pandemic,…
By: Hopper Smith. | May 30, 2021
The Legislature and Gov. Kevin Stitt delivered a huge win for Oklahoma’s K-12 students this session.
Senate Bill 1080, which passed the House and Senate with overwhelming majorities and was signed by the governor, will help hundreds of families afford the right educational environment for their kids.
As a technical matter, the bill raises the amount of tax credits available for generous Oklahomans who donate to scholarship granting organizations or certain public school foundations.
But what most people need to know is the update to the existing law means more money will be available for families who believe a private school is the right environment for their child.
The Equal Opportunity Scholarship Act doesn’t divert tax money to private schools. Instead, it provides a consumer-driven way for people to give their own money to support students who don’t thrive in a public school setting.
This is exceptionally good news for families who happen to live in an area with underperforming schools, children facing special challenges and anyone who wants a specialized education experience.
When setting education policy, the highest goal should be serving the needs of young people. Expanding opportunities for financial assistance allows more parents to make the best decisions for their kids.
Because much of the discussion over SB 1080 focused on private schools, many people overlook the fact that it also expands tax credits for people who support public schools. In other words, SB 1080 will incentivize donations to all schools.
Families who want a school that aligns with their deeply held convictions win.
Students who are trying to escape bullying, addiction and homelessness win. Kids with special needs will be able to get the highly skilled care they need to thrive. Public school students will get more STEM opportunities and other special programs.
Even the state budget wins, because taxpayers get a nearly 400% return on investment for every dollar given to a scholarship granting organization in this program.
It’s no wonder SB 1080 was so popular, or why Gov. Stitt signed the bill. The law presented an opportunity to make things better for all types of students and many, many schools across our state.
We’re thankful state leaders stood up for kids and took such a positive step to improve education in Oklahoma.