Ninety-one percent of Oklahoma’s children attend public schools, but when the Stitt administration received $40 million in federal funds to help schools deal with COVID, he diverted nearly half of the money elsewhere.
Stitt has been criticized for attacking public schools and pushing an agenda that seeks to funnel resources to students in private schools instead. Stitt gave 25% of the funds to private school students — despite the fact that private schools serve less than 10 percent of Oklahoma’s children. Taxpayer dollars were used to pay the private school tuition of students – including students of a family of four that earned as much as $91,700 a year.
If Stitt continues to move taxpayer dollars out of the public school system, rural children will likely suffer. Recent changes approved by Stitt to the state’s education funding formula are also expected to hurt many rural school districts. Had the funding formula been in effect for the current school year, for example, the 315-student district of Fort Towson in southeastern Oklahoma would have received $775,000 less from the state – a 40% cut in its state aid.
- Stitt pledges $30 million to private schools, digital learning, Oklahoman, 7/19/2020
- Gauging A Plan To Alter Education Funding in Oklahoma, Oklahoma Watch, 2/28/2021