Legislative Alert: Vouchers
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Legislative Alert:


Bill: House Bill 2949  by Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City

What it would do: Create vouchers, also known as education savings accounts, that would divert taxpayer money away from public schools to pay for private education or homeschooling of qualifying students.

When it will be heard: 3 p.m.. Monday, House Common Education Committee in Room 412C **If your school is out Monday, please consider visiting the Capitol to talk to lawmakers about this issue!**

Summary: Under HB2949, qualifying students will be eligible to receive a voucher for 30%-90% of their state aid funding, which they would then be able to use to pay for private, virtual, or post-secondary tuition and other educational costs such as tutoring, curriculum, and field trips. Over the first 14 years, this would divert money as much as $2 billion away from the public schools that serve more than 90% of Oklahoma’s students. The annual cost could reach $250 million.
Six of the committee members are co-authors on this bill: Nelson, Rep. Sally Kern, Rep. Dan Fisher, Rep. John Paul Jordan, Rep. Michael Rogers and Rep. Chuck Strohm.

Reasons for concern:

  • Vouchers will divert as much as $2 billion over the next 14 years from public schools to those who have always chosen private school or homeschool. The annual cost could reach $250 million.
  • Oklahoma already has school choice! More than 40,000 students transfer to another school district every year, more than 11,000 students transfer to different schools within their districts, and more than 80,00 of the state’s high school students choose classes available through the state’s career technology system.
  • Last year, Oklahoma lawmakers approved the statewide expansion of charter schools, opening the door for even more choice within the public school system.
  • Vouchers lack accountability for taxpayer dollars and student achievement.
    • Every dollar of money to public schools is coded and tracked, and strict limits are placed on how much money schools can spend for administration and other areas. Private schools would not be limited in how they spend voucher money, nor would they be required to account for expenses.
    • Public schools must give state-mandated tests, adhere to state-adopted academic standards, and face sanctions if students aren’t performing well. The proposed vouchers allow recipients to largely avoid any student achievement-related reporting and mandates.
  • ESA voucher programs can lead to fraud because they do not hold schools or families accountable for their private use of taxpayer funds.
    • In Florida’s voucher system, the state invests millions of dollars into private schools without making any efforts whatsoever to ensure that the schools are providing required services to students.
    • The Wisconsin voucher program cost taxpayers almost $139 million over 10 years until it was determined that the private schools were not meeting the basic needs of students and were barred from the state program.
Learn more about vouchers at www.esaisnotok.com.

House Common Education
Find Your Legislator
Representative Party District Phone Hometown Email Address Twitter
Cannaday, Ed D 15 405.557.7375 Porum ed.cannaday@okhouse.gov  
Condit, Donnie D 18 405.557.7376 McAlester donnie.condit@okhouse.gov @ConditDonnie
Thomsen, Todd R 25 405.557.7336 Ada todd.thomsen@okhouse.gov @ToddThomsen
Caldwell, Chad R 40 405.557.7317 Enid chad.caldwell@okhouse.gov @chad4ok
Jordan, John Paul R 43 405.557.7352 Yukon jp.jordan@okhouse.gov  
Fisher, Dan R 60 405.557.7311 El Reno dan.fisher@okhouse.gov @ElectDanFisher
Coody, Ann (c) R 64 405.557.7398 Lawton anncoody@okhouse.gov  
Nollan, Jadine R 66 405.557.7390 Sand Springs jadine.nollan@okhouse.gov  
Strohm, Chuck R 69 405.557.7331 Jenks chuck.strohm@okhouse.gov  
Henke, Katie R 71 405.557.7361 Tulsa katie.henke@okhouse.gov @KatieHenke
McDaniel, Jeannie D 78 405.557.7334 Tulsa jeanniemcdaniel@okhouse.gov @JeannieMcDani14
Kern, Sally R 84 405.557.7348 OKC sallykern@okhouse.gov @SallyKern
Nelson, Jason R 87 405.557.7335 OKC jason.nelson@okhouse.gov @jasonnelsonok
Stone, Shane D 89 405.557.7397 OKC shane.stone@okhouse.gov  
Rogers, Michael (vc) R 98 405.557.7362 Broken Arrow michael.rogers@okhouse.gov @rogersmichael21

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