School choice bill headed to governor

Members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives have passed a significant expansion of a school-choice program that has benefited thousands of low-income students, sending the measure to Gov. Kevin Stitt to be signed into law.

“These opportunities are real,” said House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, “and they change the trajectories of peoples’ lives.”

Senate Bill 1080 increases the size of the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Act, which provides tax credits to those who donate to organizations that provide private-school scholarships.

Under current law, the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship program is limited to $3.5 million annually in tax credits for donations to organizations that provide private-school scholarships. SB 1080 would raise that figure to $25 million.

Under the program, at least 58 percent of private-school scholarship recipients must qualify for the federal free-and-reduced lunch program, ensuring most students benefiting from the program are from working families.

The legislation also boosts a tax-credit program for private donations to public schools, raising that program’s cap from $1.5 million annually to $25 million. The legislation also makes all public schools eligible for the program for the first time and provides additional avenues for donors to support local public schools.

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