A task force has been authorized to examine how state funds are distributed to Oklahoma public schools—that’s after Gov. Brad Henry signed Senate Bill 925 into law this week. Sen. Clark Jolley is principal author of the legislation, co-authored by Rep. Ken Miller. Jolley said he appreciated the governor’s support of the study.
“This is long overdue. It’s been about two decades since anyone took an in-depth look at the school funding formula,” said Jolley, R-Edmond. “We need to determine whether it is efficient, fair, and whether it could be simplified.”
Miller said the School Funding Formula Task Force will consist of eight members including educators and business people appointed by the governor and legislative leaders.
“This task force gives us an opportunity to take an objective look at the funding formula and determine what works and what may need to be revised in order to best meet the needs of students throughout our state, including those in districts experiencing tremendous growth,” said Miller, R-Edmond.
Jolley said one major concern is that fast-growing districts currently do not have any means of obtaining additional funds needed to prepare for that growth.
“I represent Edmond, and in the past three years we’ve added three new elementary schools with another one on the way,” Jolley said. “Districts like ours need funding now to prepare for the influx of students by hiring additional faculty and addressing capital needs, but that really can’t be done under the current system. It’s an important issue we need to consider.”
Under SB 925, members of the task force must be appointed by August 31, 2007, with the first meeting convening by September 30, 2007. All proceedings of the task force will be subject to the Open Meeting and Open Records Act.