OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – New proposed vouchers cannot cover the cost for many private schools around Oklahoma City metro.
On Fox News last week, Governor Kevin Stitt talked about an expanded voucher program for all students in Oklahoma.
“I would like it to be $8,000, it may start out at $5,000,” said Stitt.
The governor views vouchers as a way to level the playing field for all parents.
“Why not let parents choose, and let every kid decide if they want to go to a private school or a charter school or a different public school or an aviation school,” said the governor.
When looking at the cost of tuition for private schools around Oklahoma City, a $5,000 voucher wouldn’t cover half of a year’s worth of education.
- Trinity School: $14,000 – $16,000, pre-k – 12th
- Casady School: $16,670 – $24,850, pre-k – 12th
- Heritage Hall: $17,975 – $23,650, pre-k – 12th
- Mount St. Mary High School: $10,250
- Bishop McGuiness High School: $16,245
- Community Christian: $5,400 – $5,730, pre-k – 12th
- Christian Heritage: $8,000 – $10,300, pre-k – 12th
Lawmaker Mickey Dollens, Democrat from Oklahoma City, said the idea of choice for students misleading in terms of private education.
“The admission process is very stringent, and you could have an instance where someone has the voucher and they’re able to pay the difference, but they’re not accepted because maybe their child has a disability,” said Dollens.
Public schools are required to accept all students, including those with disabilities. That is not an obligation for private schools.
Another issue Dollens has with vouchers, in other states like Arizona, they are used mostly by parents with kids already attending private schools.
Arizona passed an expanded voucher program last summer.
Last October, the Arizona Department of Education tweeted that “80% of applicants do not have a record of prior public school enrollment.”
“It’s kind of a coupon for people who are already having the ability to afford sending their children to two private schools,” said Dollens.
Vouchers will be a major talking point as the legislature heads into the 2023 session.
There are a couple bills filed so far that propose an Oklahoma Education Freedom Account.