OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the end of the legislative session nears, state leaders say they have reached an agreement on education funding.

For months, the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Oklahoma Senate disagreed over how much money should go into the state funding formula.

Oklahoma lawmakers announce an agreement on education funding. (KFOR)

On Monday, Gov. Kevin Stitt, President Pro Tem Greg Treat, and Speaker Charles McCall announced a joint press conference to announce a historic education reform agreement.

House Democratic Leader Cyndi Munson only partly agrees with the enthusiasm of Republican leadership.

“We’re glad to see that there is a teacher pay raise listed in there,” she said. “Glad to see that there’s paid maternity leave and some funding going to our classrooms.”

But she said the $3,000 to $6,000 teacher pay raise should be bumped up if Oklahoma public schools are to be competitive.

“To somewhere between $6,000 and $12,000,” she stated. “So, where the Republicans are sort of ending their pay raise at $6,000, we wanted to start at $6,000 to actually make a difference in the lives of our teachers in our classroom today… to ensure that the pay actually allows them to have a living wage and to provide for their families while teaching in the classroom.”

$625 million in every year additional spending
– $3,000 to $6,000 Pay raises for teachers + certified staff
– Paid maternity leave for 6 weeks
– $125 million for Redbud Fund
$150 million in additional one time spending for public school safety
$10 million for a three year literacy program

The private school tax credit plan was not part of this announcement but the House passed a plan last week but it was held while the deal announced on Monday was hammered out.

The tax credit plan for households based on income:
Up to $75,000 gets $7500
$75,000 – $150,000 gets $7,000
$150,000 – $225,000 gets $6,500
$225,000 – $250,000 gets $6,000
$250,000 + gets $5,000

The Speaker of the House says the tax credit bill will now be sent to the Governor’s office.

Not everyone was cheering after the agreement was announced.


Oklahoma Politics

“Tying education funding to an unpopular voucher scheme is not the solution Oklahoma families are looking for. Our kids need individualized attention from their teachers, guaranteed breakfast and lunch, and support when they are going through hard times. This proposal does not meet those needs,” said Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City.

“It is important to remember that we are talking about $600 million over three years that will not serve 95% of Oklahoma students. This voucher scheme is a tax shelter for individuals who can already afford private school tuition. We know the Tax Commission is not equipped to manage this program and that Oklahoma tax dollars will be misused and abused with no repercussions,” said Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City.

“This proposal continues the supermajority’s false narrative that increased funding for public school students must be linked to a voucher scheme. Oklahoma families, even those that attend private schools, are not asking for this arrangement. Linking the two together makes it clear that vouchers do not have the support they need on their own, so leadership is holding public school funding hostage to get them over the line,” said Sen. Jo Anna Dossett, D-Tulsa