By Nehemiah Frank, founder & editor-in-chief
TULSA, Okla. — School districts and charter schools in Oklahoma are fighting for crumbs due to the state’s prolonged budget crisis. The two largest school districts in Oklahoma, Tulsa Public Schools, and Oklahoma City Public Schools’ boards’ are now considering getting involved in the lawsuit the Oklahoma Public Charter School Association (OPCSA) filed against the state’s Board of Education in the Okla. County District Court back in July.
The majority of Oklahoma charter schools receive around $5,550.00 per pupil, versus $9,366 per traditional public school student in Oklahoma. Inequality.
Last year, Deborah Brown Community School received $5,716 per student while Sweetwater Public School received $29,912 per student. Catoosa Public Schools students receive $11,799 per pupil annually.
Currently, “Oklahoma law requires the State Board of Education to determine the policy and procedure for making payments to a charter school.” Moreover, “Oklahoma law requires that charter schools receive state aid, but not local dollars,” according to the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
Hence the OPCSA’s filed-lawsuit against the Oklahoma’s Board of Education.
The National Allience for Public Charters Schools promote “to ensure that local revenue and state revenue is allocated to public charter schools in a manner that is equitable on a per-student basis within the same tax base,” which is what OPCSA’s simply requesting.
After all, why should Oklahoma’s Board of Education get to decide the value of a student’s education based on whether they attend a traditional public school or a public charter school, whereby, the majority of charter school enrollees are students of color? The continued failing public education system in Oklahoma has been all but fair and impartial when it comes to equity in education.
Oklahoma City and Tulsa Public School Districts’ have contributed to the state’s currently low academic ranking of 47th in the nation.
The second POC find an alternative solution to educating their children, the System greedily intervenes and does so without a conscience, proving once again that it is a machine that blindly destroys any chance of progress that would eradicate the marginalized’s plight.
Charter schools are public schools. They are an alternative attempt at leveling the playing field and curbing the school-to-prison pipeline, a pipeline that seemingly counts the number of students who can’t read by grade three and simultaneously projects the number of beds and prison space that must be built to accommodate the superficially educated.
Rather than challenging Goliath – the state legislature – and possibly winning, these two public school boards would instead choose to prey on the charter schools for minuscule funding.
Equal access to quality education has always been a civil rights issue, and the Charter School Movement has the same fight as that of the district public school. Charter School parents and students merely choose choice because, for one reason or another, they believe it is a better fit for their children.
Don’t derail our fight. Join us and stand against the injustice of a system that, by design, gives parents no options.