Urgent Legislative Alert: Vouchers
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Legislative Alert:

Vouchers

TAKE ACTION

ASK YOUR SENATOR TO VOTE NO ON SB609!

GOV. MARY FALLIN MADE ROBO CALLS LAST NIGHT ASKING OKLAHOMANS TO CONTACT THEIR SENATORS IN SUPPORT OF THIS BILL. PLEASE SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH YOUR DISTRICT STAFF, OTHER LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS, COMMUNITY LEADERS AND PARENTS AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO CONTACT THEIR SENATOR FOR A NO VOTE.

Bill: Senate Bill 609 as amended by Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond


What it would do: Create vouchers, also known as education savings accounts, that would divert taxpayer money away from public schools. Sen. Jolley has filed an amendment that would make important changes. Please see below for details.

When it will be heard: The bill could be heard at any time and must be heard by Thursday to progress. 

Summary: SB 609 by Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, would create a voucher program. The amended version would be even MORE COSTLY for public schools and would begin for the 2017-2018 school year.

  • To be eligible, students must have been enrolled in a public school for 100 days.
  • On average, recipients would receive $4,227 annually on a debit card to spend on qualified expenses, including private school tuition, extracurricular activities, tutoring and textbook rental.
  • This bill allows ESA/voucher recipients to use taxpayer money for homeschooling-related costs.
  • For the first 10 years, participation would be capped. Each year, the program could add new students equal to one-half of one percent of total public school enrollment -- about 3,500 students per year based on current enrollment.
  • That would put the first-year cost of vouchers at nearly $14 million.
  • If applications exceed the cap, first priority is awarded to families with incomes greater than the amount required to qualify for the federal free or reduced-price lunch program but is equal to or less than two times that amount. For a family of five, that would be income level between $52,500 and $105,000. (Families that QUALIFY FOR FREE- OR REDUCED-PRICE lunches are NOT deemed priority applicants).
  • In the first 10 years, the bill would divert almost $200 million from public schools even if public school enrollment doesn't grow and funding doesn't grow from current levels
  • After 10 years, participation would no longer be limited and applications would be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • The state Education Department has previously estimated implementing the bill's provisions would cost the agency $880,000 in FY 2016.


Here are the reasons for concern:

  • ESAs/vouchers would reduce funding for public schools -- $14 million in the first year and growing to $200 million over the first 10 years even with a participation cap in place. 
  • The state Education Department estimates it would cost almost $900,000 in first-year administrative costs to implement ESAs.
  • After 10 years, the participation cap would be eliminated, allowing unlimited participation on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Statistics from other states show ESA/voucher programs are costly and disproportionately serve white families with more financial means and students who never attended public school. Read more here and here.
  • Private schools and homeschool families would have no accountability for the public money they receive or the quality of education provided.
Senate
Senator District Phone Hometown Email Address Twitter
Allen, Mark 4 405.521.5576 Spiro allen@oksenate.gov  
Anderson, Patrick 19 405.521.5630 Enid anderson@oksenate.gov  
Barrington, Don 31 405.521.5563 Lawton barrington@oksenate.gov  
Bass, Randy 32 405.521.5567 Lawton bass@oksenate.gov  
Bice, Stephanie 22 405.521.5592 Edmond bice@oksenate.gov @stephaniebice
Bingman, Brian 12 405.521.5528 Sapulpa bingman@oksenate.gov  
Boggs, Larry 7 405.521.5604 Wilburton boggs@oksenate.gov  
Brecheen, Josh 6 405.521.5586 Coalgate brecheen@oksenate.gov @brecheen4senate
Brooks, Corey 43 405.521.5522 Washington brooks@oksenate.gov @SenCoreyBrooks
Brown, Bill 36 405.521.5602 Broken Arrow brownb@oksenate.gov  
Crain, Brian 39 405.521.5620 Tulsa crain@oksenate.gov @senatorcrain
Dahm, Nathan 33 405.521.5551 Broken Arrow dahm@oksenate.gov @NathanDahm
David, Kim 18 405.521.5590 Wagoner david@oksenate.gov  
Dossett, JJ 34 405.521-5566 Owasso dossett@oksenate.gov @Dossettfor34
Fields, Eddie 10 405.521.5581 Wynona efields@oksenate.gov @FieldsForSenate
Floyd, Kay 46 405.521.5610 OKC floyd@oksenate.gov @KayFloydOK
Ford, John 29 405.521.5634 Bartlesville fordj@oksenate.gov  
Fry, Jack 42 405.521.5584 Midwest City fry@oksenate.gov  
Garrison, Earl 9 405.521.5533 Muskogee garrisone@oksenate.gov @garrisondist9
Griffin, A J 20 405.521.5628 Guthrie griffin@oksenate.gov @kimdavid2010
Halligan, Jim 21 405.521.5572 Stillwater halligan@oksenate.gov  
Holt, David 30 405.521.5636 OKC holt@oksenate.gov @davidfholt
Jech, Darcy 26 405.521.5545 Kingfisher jech@oksenate.gov @jech_darcy
Jolley, Clark 41 405.521.5622 Edmond jolley@oksenate.gov @ClarkJolley
Justice, Ron 23 405.521.5537 Chickasha justice@oksenate.gov  
Loveless, Kyle 45 405.521.5618 OKC loveless@oksenate.gov @kyledloveless
Marlatt, Bryce 27 405.521.5626 Woodward marlatt@oksenate.gov @transsenator
Matthews, Kevin 11 405.521.5598 Owasso matthews@oksenate.gov  
Mazzei, Mike 25 405.521.5675 Tulsa mazzei@oksenate.gov @MazzeiMike
Newberry, Dan 37 405.521.5600 Tulsa newberry@oksenate.gov @sendannewberry
Paddack, Susan 13 405.521.5541 Ada paddack@oksenate.gov  
Pittman, Anastasia 48 405.521.5531 OKC pittman@oksenate.gov  
Quinn, Marty 2 405.521.5555 Claremore quinn@oksenate.gov  
Schulz, Mike 38 405.521.5612 Altus schulz@oksenate.gov @SenatorRandyBas
Sharp, Ron 17 405.521.5539 Shawnee sharp@oksenate.gov  
Shaw, Wayne 3 405.521.5574 Grove shaw@oksenate.gov  
Shortey, Ralph 44 405.521.5557 OKC shortey@oksenate.gov @RalphShortey
Silk, Joseph 5 405.521.5614 Broken Bow silk@oksenate.gov  
Simpson, Frank 14 405.521.5607 Ardmore simpson@oksenate.gov @SenatorSimpson
Smalley, Jason 28 405.521.5547 Stroud smalley@oksenate.gov @smalley101
Sparks, John 16 405.521.5553 Norman sparks@oksenate.gov  
Standridge, Rob 15 405.521.5535 Norman standridge@oksenate.gov @SenatorRobS
Stanislawski, Gary 35 405.521.5624 Tulsa stanislawski@oksenate.gov @SenStanislawski
Sykes, Anthony 24 405.521.5569 Moore lewis@oksenate.gov @Sykes4Oklahoma
Thompson, Roger 8 405.521.5588 Okemah thompson@oksenate.gov  
Treat, Greg 47 405.521.5632 OKC treat@oksenate.gov @Sen_GregTreat
Wyrick, Charles 1 405.521.5561 Fairland wyrick@oksenate.gov  
Yen, Ervin 40 405.521.5543 OKC yen@oksenate.gov @Yen4Senate
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