Friday, May 17, 2019

House Dems Education Caucus decries removal of April 1 funding deadline

House Dem Ed Caucus Members Sounds Off on Removal of April 1 Deadline

OKLAHOMA CITY – Members of the Oklahoma House Democratic  Education Caucus released the following statements in response to the House voting 72 to 20 to remove the April 1 public education funding deadline.

“Noncompliance is not a good reason to repeal a state statute,” said Rep. Kelly Albright (D-Midwest City). “This legislation feels like an attack on education advocates that continue to fight for proper education funding.”

“Oklahoma’s Legislature has one constitutional mandate: to pass a balanced budget,” said Rep. Andy Fugate (D-OKC). “That should always be our top priority ahead of ALL other business. That’s our job and our responsibility to the people of Oklahoma. If we made this Constitutional obligation a priority like we should, meeting this deadline wouldn’t be impossible, it would be easy.”

“I just voted against a measure on the floor to repeal the statutory requirement to approve an education budget by April 1 of each year,” said Rep. Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa). “School districts could plan better for the coming year if they knew their budget by the April 1 deadline. The requirement has only been met twice since inception. It’s possible and it’s not too much to ask. This is an optics issue, plain and simple. Nobody likes to look bad when they can’t get their job done on time. Is that the best reason to repeal this law?  We don’t think so.”

“I find it troubling that the powers that be can simply change a statute just because they don’t want to follow a statute,” said Rep. Jacob Rosecrants (D-Norman). “Providing a fully funded budget for our schools by April 1st shows that we indeed do prioritize our schools. Taking it away is a step back, not a step forward. Funding education should always be our number one priority.”

“The April 1 deadline was put in place to help Oklahoma administrators have the ability to plan ahead,” said Rep. John Waldron (D-Tulsa). “We should be striving to meet this goal every year not working to get rid of it. Our education professionals desperately need stability and consistency from the Legislature, and I am afraid that removing this deadline is a step away from both.”


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