By Denise Brewer
Tulsa,Oklahoma – Broken Arrow and Jenks Public Schools were the first in the Tulsa Metro area to declare they will not pay any scholarship for special education students to attend private schools. The scholarships are part of HB3393, meant to provide better services to special education children not being served by public schools.
Calling it the first step toward school vouchers, the Broken Arrow and Jenks school boards announced early this week they will not follow the state law. Now, the Union Superintendent says she will encourage the Union board to make the same declaration.
Superintendent Cathy Burden says expecting the schools to pay for services they are not providing is against the law and violates the Oklahoma Constitution. Those in opposition to HB3393 say it is in direct violation of a provision of the constitution which prohibits using public funds for private purposes.
Superintendents from all three districts believe providing scholarships for special education students to attend private schools will continue to erode state funding for public schools.