NEWS FLASH: Opportunity scholarship heads to Governor Fallin
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Published: 05-May-2011

The Oklahoma state Senate has voted 28-12 to pass Senate Bill 969, the Opportunity Scholarship program by Dan Newberry of Sand Springs/Tulsa. Debate on the measure concluded this morning (Thursday, May 5). The measure attracted bi-partisan majorities in both the House and Senate. 

The bill was amended in the state House. New provisions added there allow tax credits to individuals and businesses that finance grants for new programs in rural public schools. The new language seemed to strengthen the measure in the lower House, where it prevailed 64-33, without weakening support in the Senate. 

The program is limited as a “start-up” for choice aimed at educational students in failing schools. Of resources created in scholarship-granting organizations, $3.5 million could go to individual scholarships, while the remaining $1.5 million would fund the grants to help rural schools in areas where private school is not an option.

Retained provisions in the bill empower parents of children in failing public schools to access the education provider of their choice through scholarship-granting organizations financed by private individuals and corporations. Tax credits are limited to 50% of the value of the gifts.

Yesterday, the Senate accepted the rural-oriented amendments and began debating the measure. The bill was held over to allow further fiscal review by Senate leaders. 

Debate and the final roll call concluded this morning. S.B. 969 now heads to Governor Mary Fallin’s desk. 

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