Tuesday the Oklahoma House approved a bill that will give businesses and individuals the opportunity to play a role in providing quality education for Oklahoma children. Known as the “Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Act,” Senate Bill 969 by Senator Dan Newberry, R-Sand Springs, passed in the House by a vote of 64 to 33.
“I’m very pleased the House passed the private scholarship bill,” said Newberry. “This is very important to Oklahoma kids and it gives under privileged children opportunity to succeed and receive the education they deserve.”
In Senate Bill 969, students meeting financial need requirements or living in school districts identified for improvement under No Child Left Behind will be eligible to receive scholarships. Businesses and individual contributions will fund the scholarships and the state will grant tax credits to those that contribute. Individuals will receive a 50% annual credit for contributions up to $1,000, $2,000 for married couples filing jointly, and a 50% credit annually for corporations on contributions up to $100,000. There is a limit placed on total annual contributions, totaling $5 million.
Newberry said that the bill will save tax dollars because local school districts will experience a savings on students who are no longer enrolled in the local public school. He said the infusion of private dollars will result in a savings and benefit for all students, from both public and private schools.