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Superintendent calls for unity, says voucher system would be 'foolish'

Minco Middle School
Minco School District
Minco Middle School

The head of Minco Public Schools says schools should not be political battlegrounds, and a voucher system that would see public money going to private schools is unwise.

Minco Public Schools posted a message to Facebook from Superintendent Kevin Sims on Sept. 8. In the message, Sims praised his school district and said those who work for the betterment of students should be appreciated regardless of politics.

In a subsequent interview with Public Radio Tulsa, Sims responded to the idea that the politicization of schools has to do partly with a voucher system supported mostly by Republicans and opposed mostly by Democrats.

Sims said he doesn’t support vouchers because he doesn’t think rewriting funding rules in Oklahoma would be worth the effort since he says the system is already efficient.

“A voucher [system] would be foolish. The system works. It does. Everything is equal,” said Sims. “It doesn’t make sense to me why you would tamper with that or tinker with that.”

Sims said Minco doesn’t rely so much on state aid and wouldn’t be as effected as Tulsa.

“It could really hurt a larger school district that’s dependent upon state aid,” said Sims. “And, quite honestly, I don’t think a voucher would come close to paying for a private education.”

Gov. Kevin Stitt is an advocate for vouchers. His push to pass a system into law failed this year but will likely be renewed next legislative session.

His opponent in the governor’s race, Joy Hofmeister, told Public Radio Tulsa a voucher system is an absolute no for her, and that whether or not one passes will come down to who is elected governor.

The two will be debating at University of Tulsa on Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.