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OEA responds to HB 1230 signing

The governor signed his first bill of the session. 

House Bill 1230 became law Monday, giving taxpayers a critical look into one of Oklahoma’s two school vouchers programs. 

HB 1230 was filed in 2019 but didn’t move all the way through the legislative process until the House voted to approve it last week. OEA has supported the bill since its filing. 

OEA President Alicia Priest had this to say: 

"Thanks to Rep. Mark McBride and Sen. Darrell Weaver for authoring HB 1230, and thank you to Gov. Kevin Stitt for signing it. This bill will provide much more transparency for the state’s voucher program. We’ll gain insights into the big-picture data of those who pursue these scholarships and what their needs are, and we’ll know more about which private schools receive these tax dollars. Transparency in public spending is always a good thing. Now let’s have it for Equal Opportunity Scholarship tax credits, too."

— OEA President Alicia Priest

The Lindsay Nicole Henry Scholarship voucher program uses public funds to pay private school tuition for certain special needs students. HB 1230 requires the State Department of Education to report annual program data, such as: 

  • The total number and amount of scholarships awarded and reported for each participating private school.
 
  • The total number of scholarships denied.
 
  • The total number and amount of scholarship payments suspended for each participating private school.
 
  • Non-identifying data on participating students, such as grade level, economically disadvantaged status, racial and ethnic groups, and disability category.

Also, private schools have to apply to the State Department of Education to participate in the voucher program. The bill requires those program applications from private schools to be shared online in full. 

Oklahoma’s second tax voucher program — the Equal Opportunity Scholarships — has very little transparency, even as lawmakers work to divert more state funds into expanding those tax credits.

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