OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A new education plan passed covering both money for public schools and money for parents sending their children to private schools.

Speaker Charles McCall introduced his plan Thursday morning and by the afternoon the House committee was voting on it.

McCall’s proposal (HB 1935) asks for an additional $500 million for public schools.

The details include:

  • $300 million for all school districts, with spending up to their discretion
  • $150 million for $2,500 teacher pay raises across the board, excluding administration
  • $50 million for disadvantaged school districts that receive below-average local tax revenue

Along with the funding for public schools, it does offer a tax credit for parents that have kids in private schools and homeschools.

For private school families, they could receive $5,000 per child. For homeschool families, they could receive $2,500 per child.

McCall said that the credit will be authorized after the family pays for tuition or other approved items and shows a receipt or proof to the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

On February 10, during a media luncheon, Speaker McCall indicated that House members were not interested in another voucher proposal.

Governor Kevin Stitt proposed Education Savings Accounts during his State of the State Address.

State Superintendent Ryan Walters has supported school choice vouchers since running for his position. Walters took to Twitter to pledge his support for McCall’s tax credit plan, saying it funds “students not systems.”

The Speaker differentiated his proposal from the voucher plans by emphasizing that rural schools, and public schools in general, will not be negatively impacted.

“We’re not pulling money from the appropriated funds for public education,” said McCall. “And the rural public schools will receive a substantial amount of funding in this bill.”

The proposal was introduced in the House Appropriations and Budget committee Thursday afternoon.

The plan was split into two separate bills:
1) $500 million for public schools, HB 2775
2) Oklahoma Parental Choice Tax Credit Act HB 1935

Both bills passed and will now head to a House floor, potentially sometime next week.

Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat supported vouchers last year.

He said more time will be needed to go over the details of McCall’s proposal before making a judgement.

“Just had a robust discussion in caucus about it, but I’m not going to take a position on any particular component of it yet,” said Treat.