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School districts in SWOK worried about losing funding to charter schools

Updated: Mar. 29, 2021 at 6:18 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Local superintendents are upset with a recent vote that could decrease public school funding.

Oklahoma State Board of Education members split 4-3 on a decision to settle a years-old charter school lawsuit. The lawsuit sought millions more in state taxpayer dollars than what charter schools receive now.

Cache Public School Superintendent Chad Hance said this means; if a student from his district transfers to a charter school, Cache would lose local tax dollars.

That goes for every public school across the state.

“This was done without any type of study on financial impact throughout any school districts in the state. So, it’s been my experience without looking at some type of research or data of some type of impact study. How do we know how this will play out. It’s causing a lot of questions,” Hance said.

Hance and other superintendents are working with local lawmakers in hopes that someone steps up to make changes.

Lawton Public Schools superintendent Kevin Hime couldn’t agree more.

“If somebody doesn’t step in school districts like Lawton will have to hire an attorney to sue the state board of education for taking an action that their own attorney told them was unconstitutional. So, we’re both are going to be using taxpayer’s money to fight something or to deliberate on something that both sides are saying is unconstitutional,” Hime said.

Hance said he was in disbelief when he heard the vote’s outcome.

He feels as if virtual school and public school cost just doesn’t match up.

“Whereas it’s building insurance, casualty, property insurance. They don’t have the same type of maintenance we do, facility maintenance. They don’t have the upkeep, so there’s a big difference when comparing virtual and a brick and mortar school,” Hance said.

Hime said he’s willing to go above and beyond to make sure public schools continue to get the funding they need.

“We fight for funding, and we fight for our local kids, but when people start trying to take local money from Lawton students and take it to Oklahoma City and other places obviously we’re going to stand up and defend our student’s rights,” Hime said.

This could go in effect on July 1.

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