Fed up with local school boards that have been unresponsive to parental requests for full-time, in-person student instruction, parents across Oklahoma have urged state lawmakers to change Oklahoma law to allow recall elections for school-board members.
While parents anticipated opposition to that effort, few expected to have their own education taxes diverted from the classroom to lobbying efforts in opposition to recall elections that would empower those same parents.
“That’s actually really shocking that our tax dollars are paying to fight us,” said Danica Norman, a parent in the Owasso school district. “That is mind-blowing.”
“It is ridiculous,” said Matt Thompson, a parent in the Deer Creek district.
At the Oklahoma Legislature, the Oklahoma State School Boards Association (OSSBA) has been the leading public opponent of Senate Bill 210, which would allow for recall elections of school-board members under certain circumstances.
The OSSBA is, effectively, a taxpayer-funded entity, although it is technically considered a private organization. The OSSBA is funded with payments from its member school districts, which are taxpayer-funded and pay OSSBA dues from school budgets. In exchange for those payments, the OSSBA provides schools with services that include lobbying at the Oklahoma Capitol.
Thus, parents are paying taxes to school districts that then effectively use those taxes to oppose parents’ efforts to increase parental influence in school districts.