OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KOKH) — On Thursday afternoon, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R-Okla.) signed HB 1934 into law.
The measure provides tax credits to families for private school tuition, out-of-zip code charter schools, and homeschooling.
The governor's office released the following information on the provisions of the measure:
Caleb Ring has children in both public and private schools in Oklahoma. He told FOX 25 that his family has to think about how much private school tuition costs— but the tax credits will make things easier.
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"The excitement around this room is just, it's palpable. It's very cool to see the parents and the kids, just, it seems like a real win for, for the state," he shared.
HB 1934 forms a part of a larger education reform plan for Oklahoma schools. According to the governor's office, the bill works in conjunction with the following initiatives regarding education, called the ASPIRE plan:
Regarding the tax credit plan, Ring asserted that, "It's a super huge help and it really, really just helps out with the, with the kiddos, right? 'Cause it gives them the best chance that we think is possible for them."
The governor hosted a packed house at the Oklahoma State Capitol with parents, kids, and officials showing their support.
According to the governor, "School choice should not just be for the rich or those that can afford it. Now, it's available for every single family in the state of Oklahoma."
Chris Brewster, superintendent of Santa Fe South Charter Schools, explained that the plan will help him pay staff more across the board — and hire more as well.
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"This is my thirty-second year in public education in Oklahoma. It's probably the best day I can remember for our state supporting its kids. So I'm excited man. It's really good news," Brewster added.
Members of the Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus previously spoke against the bill, arguing it wouldn't benefit most kids in the state, with one calling it, "a gift to the rich."
Brewster asserted that parents want choice so much that there's a thousand students on Santa Fe South's wait list. He stated that three new schools opening in the fall will open up more available spaces.
Gov. Stitt also shared the following remarks regarding the bill's signing in a statement:
Today is a historic day for the state of Oklahoma, and a huge win for students and parents all across the state. I am so proud that we were able to empower parents and deliver education freedom; so that every student has the opportunity to attend a school that best fits their needs, regardless of their background, economic status or zip code. With this plan, Oklahoma is also celebrating record funding in our education system; including giving our teachers a much-needed pay raise, investing in literacy programs, funding our rural schools, and securing Oklahoma classrooms.
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