I’ve heard numerous fallacies about the state Board of Education’s recent decision regarding charter school funding, and I think it’s important to set the record straight.
The resolution adopted by the state board means the funding follows the student in accordance with state statute.
The Oklahoma Charter Schools Act provides that public charter schools are eligible to receive funds allowed to traditional schools and the state board’s decision ensures that the state follows the law.
For more than 20 years, charters have been denied these funds in violation of the law, and the state board’s decision resolved this inaccurate application of the law.
I know that a lot of the criticism for this decision has focused on virtual schools receiving additional funds. The charter school statute does not distinguish funding between different types of charter schools so the state Board of Education’s decision affected all charter schools including virtual charter schools.
The Legislature has the ability to modify the law, and it is my understanding that bills are being considered to distinguish brick-and-mortar charter schools from virtual charter schools.
As a member of the state Board of Education, I represent all students in our state and that includes the more than 80,000 who attend public charter schools.
I take this duty seriously and stand proudly behind my vote to right a wrong that has tarnished our public education system for more than two decades.
Editor's note: Trent Smith was in the majority of a 4-3 vote last month to settle a lawsuit that changes the way schools are funded. Two districts have approved measures to sue the state board over the decision and others are considering lawsuits.
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