Oklahoma City Public Schools to sue state Legislature

August 22, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City Public Schools officials are planning to sue the state Legislature for educational funding.

The Oklahoma City Public Schools board unanimously approved a resolution Monday to pursue legal action against the Legislature. It comes after school funding cuts followed budget shortfalls.

The resolution accuses lawmakers of ignoring “their constitutional responsibility” to provide textbooks for every child by eliminating funding for instructional materials. It also says cuts in funding for “requirements established by the Legislature” left underfunded liabilities for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

“All of those things we have to pull funding from that would normally go into the classroom that we now divert to these mandates that the Legislature has placed on us,” said Mark Mann, a board member who authored the resolution.

Board Chair Paula Lewis said the board is pleased with the decision.

“We are starting to say our kids can’t take anymore,” Lewis said. “We certainly need to fund all the kids in Oklahoma, and we need to provide the best education we can.”

Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz, R-Altus said the district’s plan to sue is “merely a media stunt by the Oklahoma City public school district.”

“The Oklahoma courts already have tossed out similar lawsuits on the basis that the Legislature has authority to determine fiscal policy of public schools,” Schulz said.

House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, said Oklahoma City Public Schools needs to “stop playing political games and get back to educating students.”

“I would encourage them to spend their time and money on being better stewards of the dollars they receive instead of filing frivolous lawsuits that blame others for their own poor leadership,” McCall said.

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