On the heels of a huge rally for education funding on Monday, house Bill 2642 cleared a Senate panel by a 20-3 vote.
Former Oklahoma State President and current State Senator from Stillwater, James Halligan co-authored the “Securing Educational Excellence Fund” bill along with Rep Lee Denney in the House.
The legislation would nab half of the $60 million going yearly to repair roads and bridges, and send it to public schools.
“We’ve got to get more funding for education, but we are in a very challenging budget year,” Halligan said.
He continued “that means we’re going to have to look at some of the funds we’re spending now and try to find a way to address this need.”
Halligan says the measure would eventually add ten says to the school calendar.
“We want the schools to have more graduates, and we want them to be college and career ready,” Halligan stated.
“The net outcome of all this money needs to be more graduates and higher test scores,” he continued.
The bill now goes back to the Senate for discussion, and Halligan admits “it’s certainly possible we’ll see more changes in this bill, but this is something we’ve got to keep working on.
Halligan points out the money shifted won't be missed since the ROADS fund has a cap of $575 million and is already well on its way to that amount. Instead, he says the full funding amount will be reached three and a half years later than originally planned.