After what will surely go down as one of the most productive legislative sessions for school choice in state history, Governor Kevin Stitt signed SB 229, also known as the Redbud Funding Act. Its passage marks the first time in state history that charter schools (as well as underfunded rural schools) will receive state funding dedicate to facilities. Charter schools like Tulsa Classical Academy operate without local funds so they have historically struggled to afford facilities. District schools generally receive approximately 35% more funding due to local funds and these funds are what is typically used to pay for the debt service and operations on facilities. While SB 229 also eliminates the prospect of charter schools receiving local funding, it does provide specific funding in the form of a grant for facilities. We will learn more as the law is implemented by the State Department of Education, but early indications are that it will provide approximately $330 per pupil for facilities.
We are grateful to Governor Stitt, the State Board of Education, the Oklahoma Charter School Association, the State Department of Education, and the Oklahoma State Legislature for supporting SB229!