OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Another feud between Rep. Mark McBride and State Superintendent Ryan Walters comes as the lawmaker claims OSDE has missed out on a quarter of a billion dollars in federal grants.
McBride, R-Moore, said he talked with people familiar with the federal grant process.
“By their figures, $272 million dollars has yet to be applied for,” said the Republican lawmaker.
Walters visited the Capitol to dismiss the claims and said OSDE has applied for grants.
“I have $187 million dollars worth of federal grants my agency has applied for,” said Walters.
The packet Walters brought showed that five grant applications had been submitted.
Three of them were formula grants, which means all the state needs to do is apply and it will receive the money.
The other two were competitive grants, which are not guaranteed.
Competitive grants require skilled grant writers.
Recently, the Oklahoma Department of Education has seen its most experienced grant writers leave.
McBride said this puts Oklahoma schools in a more dire situation than past administrations.
“We didn’t have all the grant writers at the Department of Ed quitting their job,” said McBride.
McBride and Walters have battled before this session.
The two have gone back and forth about certain books that were found in school libraries.
Walters referred to those books as “pornography,” and McBride said the superintendent could not point to where the books were widespread or if any were still prevalent in schools.
On Wednesday, McBride said Walters deceived lawmakers at the beginning of the month when he spoke before the House Budget Committee and said grants have been applied for.
“I don’t want to call anyone a liar but we weren’t told the truth,” said McBride.
Walters had something to say about that and the lawmakers’ claims.
“Mark has a lot of trouble with the truth. That has plagued him for years now,” said the superintendent.
KFOR did reach out to the US Department of Education to learn more about what had been applied for or ignored from OSDE.
We are awaiting more information.
Walters gave reporters two minutes of his time and left after the third question.
When asked directly about the $272 million dollars, he seemed to be unaware.
“We’ve been on the phone with the feds with all of our employees we have no idea what Mark McBride is talking about and frankly neither does he,” said Walters.