TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — Big changes are coming to Oklahoma's public education system.
Gov. Kevin Stitt signed bills Wednesday that would allow families the freedom to choose which public school to attend regardless of where they live.
The funding for public schools will now, "Follow the student, not the school," Stitt said.
The governor's office is calling it, "The most transformative education reform legislation in Oklahoma history."
This will take effect next year, Stitt said Thursday in a press conference in Bartlesville.
But in the meantime, educators are speaking out about the new legislation.
Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist posted on Facebook expressing her concern over the bill.
The new legislation alters the previous funding formula for public schools in Oklahoma.
"We are proud of our formula. It is a formula that has been in place for a long time. It's admired across the country," Gist said, "We simply don't fund it adequately."
The superintendent said that it can be proven.
"The fact is that this is a provable point. We can look at what we spend per pupil in education and we can compare it. We can compare it to the region. We can compare it to the country and we have," Gist said, "And we have done that and we know where we stand. Which is at the bottom."
So we asked Stitt if this move is pulling money from already underfunded schools and sending it elsewhere.
"Totally has nothing to do with that," Stitt said.
Around 55,000 students are "ghost students," according to Stitt.
"We're funding 755,000 students statewide but we only have 700,000 in public education so it's a zero sum game," Stitt said, "We're just trying to take those dollars and put them at the schools where the kids actually go instead of schools where they don't go."
But some of those students most likely made the switch to Epic or another school that isn't public.
In her post, Gist said this will likely mean millions of dollars of cuts for TPS.
It's estimated the district lost around 3,000 students during the pandemic.
Since 2013 they've lost more than 2,400 students to Epic.
But according to governor, this change in funding was coming to TPS either way.
We also asked the governor if this would impact rural districts.
"If you're flat or growing, it's actually going to help you," Stitt said, "If you're declining, it's actually going to catch up with you anyways at some point."