Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Stearman files bill to stem outside influences on Oklahoma schools


Stearman Files Bill to Stem Outside Influences on Oklahoma Schools

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Wendi Stearman, R-Collinsville, has filed House Bill 2980, the "Keep Our Money in Oklahoma Act," which aims to protect the parents, children and taxpayers of Oklahoma's public school system from outside influences that do not reflect the Oklahoma Standard.

In September, the National School Board Association (NSBA), of which the Oklahoma State School Board Association (OSSBA) is a member, sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting federal assistance at local school board meetings. In this letter, the NSBA declared concerned parents and taxpayers as "domestic terrorists." Therefore, under HB2980, schools within the Oklahoma public school system would not be able to use state appropriated funds to pay any membership dues to any organization that is owned or operated outside of Oklahoma. Further, they would not be allowed to use any taxpayer money to pay dues or membership to any organization that is a member of a national organization without the voters' approval.

"Oklahoma taxpayers should not be forced to fund organizations that seek to silence parents," Stearman said. "A transparent system in which families  determine where their tax money is spent will benefit both the children and their education."  

HB2980 would further require that school districts publish the criteria, finances and reports of an entity in which the district holds membership.

If passed, any violation of this law would be punishable by a 10% reduction in annual state funding. However, this reduction must come from the money directly allocated for school administrator salaries. This money is then to be redistributed in a way that directly benefits the student. In addition, on Jan. 1 of each year, the State Department of Education would be required to publish a report to the state Legislature listing the violations and how the funds were redistributed to the student.

Stearman said, "This bill is one step in the process of returning the guidance of Oklahoma's Education back to the local level. For too long, outside entities have controlled the direction of our education, and it is time for us to take it back."

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