Oklahoma State Senate
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: February
Senator Owen Laughlin speaks to reporters while
Senators Justice, Johnson and Myers show their support.
GOP Senators Voice Opposition to Forced Consolidation of Schools
At a news conference Wednesday at the Oklahoma State
Capitol, a group of Republican state senators pledged to fight any
effort at the Oklahoma Legislature to force the consolidation of
rural school districts.
“If forced consolidation is attempted by this Legislature,
I predict that you will see widespread opposition by the Senate
Republican Caucus – and not just by rural members,”
stated Sen. Owen
Laughlin, R-Woodward, Assistant Republican Floor Leader in the
Oklahoma State Senate. “I think you will see many urban and
suburban Republicans joining us to stop it.”
Laughlin is chairman of the newly formed Senate Republican Rural
“Forced public school consolidation is a bad idea. In most
rural communities, the local school is the main source of a town’s
identity and pride. Consolidation does not save enough money to
justify the damage it would do to so many of our rural communities,”
said Sen. Mike Johnson, R-Kingfisher, a former school board member.
Coates, R-Seminole, said his rural Senate district opposes school
consolidation. “I know first-hand how important our rural
schools are. I attended Strother schools growing up, and graduated
from there. I know there are literally thousands of parents who
feel their children are safer and happier in their rural schools.
It’s a way of life we need to protect for Oklahoma families
throughout the state,” he said.
“Unfortunately, because a few urban Republicans have supported
forced school consolidation in the past, all Republicans tend to
get painted as supporting consolidation. The fact is, most Republican
legislators oppose it, and that’s why we’re here today
to set the record straight,” stated Sen. David
Myers, R-Ponca City.
Also participating in the news conference were Senators Patrick
Anderson, R-Enid; Don
Barrington, R-Lawton; John
Ford, R-Bartlesville; and Ron
In all, more than a third of the 22-member Republican Caucus in
the Oklahoma Senate represent significantly rural Senate districts.
This week, the rural Republican members voted to form the Senate
Republican Rural Caucus, and named Laughlin its chairman.
Senate Communications Office - (405) 521-5774