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Over the opposition of Joy Hofmeister, the state superintendent, the Oklahoma State Board of Education voted 4-3 to allow charter schools to have a share in property taxes and motor vehicle taxes that previously were reserved for public schools.
A groundbreaking settlement will fundamentally change the way charter schools are funded in Oklahoma, despite vehement opposition from the state’s top education official.
The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted 4-3 on Thursday in favor of an agreement with the Oklahoma Public Charter School Association to settle a 2017 lawsuit.
The charter school association called the agreement a “tremendous step” for equality in school funding.
State schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said the settlement could violate state law and have “seismic” implications by redistributing school funding.
“Today’s board action circumvents the will of the people of Oklahoma and the state legislature by unilaterally determining how public education is to be funded,” Hofmeister said in a statement Thursday evening. “I fear this action knowingly violated Oklahoma statute and the Oklahoma Constitution.”
The original promise of charter schools when they started thirty years ago was that they would cost less than public schools because of their lack of bureaucracy. That pledge has long been forgotten as charters fight to have equal funding–or in some states, like Texas–more funding than public schools.
This decision will mean less money for Oklahoma’s underfunded public schools.
Joy Hofmeister is one of those rare state chiefs in a red state who puts public schools first.