House, Senate Committees OK Bill Setting Spending Limits for Oklahoma State Department of Education

May 11, 2020

A bill setting spending limits for the Oklahoma State Department of Education on Monday cruised through a House committee but got a bit more scrutiny from the Senate counterpart.

Sen. J.J. Dossett (D-Owasso) took issue with House Bill 4153 carving out more than $3 million for specific companies providing online math tutoring and a mobile panic button, products schools in his district say they do not use.

"There’s a frustration that we’re picking certain vendors on items that they are not going to use. At the same time, we’re cutting alt ed and stipends for their speech pathologists and funding for the Reading Sufficiency Act, which they desperately need," Dossett said.

Sen. Dewayne Pemberton (R-Muskogee) responded to the pushback by vouching for Imagine Learning, the company providing the math tutoring program.

"I have met with some school districts that do have it, that feel like it’s probably the best thing they’ve ever done to bring their child’s math scores up. It’s an online type program. it’ll be done virtually , and it should be open to all the schools in the state," Pemberton said.

HB4153 calls for more than $2.3 billion of the state department of education's nearly $3 billion appropriation to go into the state funding formula.