Opportunity Scholarship Fund Wins Initial Committee Vote

By a slim margin of 5-3, a bill to raise the cap on Oklahoma’s Opportunity Scholarship Fund was voted out of sub-committee this week after contentious debate.

House Bill 3537 by Rep. Chad Caldwell (R-Enid) proposes to increase the dollars received by the fund from its current $5 million annual cap to $15 million. The bill includes a provision that will allow the cap to be raised automatically in subsequent years, should the demand for scholarship funds continue to increase.

The bill faces stiff opposition from the state’s public school lobby which argues that, given the tax credit of as much as 75% on private dollars donated to the fund, revenue to public schools is reduced.

Supporters of OSF counter that that is only half the equation. The ‘rest of story’ is that a student receiving a scholarship to a private school thereby leaving the public school system reduces the cost to public schools, which actually creates a positive budget increase for the public school system.

It is expected that the bill will be heard in the House’s full A&B committee next week. We’re strongly urging supporters of Catholic schools to call their state representatives and senators to implore their support for HB3537.

For more information on the Opportunity Scholarship Fund, please visit http://osfkids.org.