OKLAHOMA CITY — The speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives is standing by his threat to keep all education bills sent over from the State Senate this session from being heard if a vote isn't taken on his education plan as the House wrote it.

Speaker Charles McCall (R-Atoka) told reporters Tuesday he stands by his threat after the Senate changed what is known as "The McCall Plan" in committee on Monday, and the House Republican Caucus sent out new figures that accuse the State Senate of taking money from rural public schools in order to fund a higher private school tax credit.

"It is no longer a win for every student in the State of Oklahoma, and every parent in the State of Oklahoma. In fact, it's no longer a win for every teacher in Oklahoma any longer," McCall said about the changes made that could be voted on by the entire Senate chamber later this week.

The Senate altered plan does multiple things using the McCall Plan framework:

  • Raises the tax credit amount to help cover private school tuition expenses from $5,000 to $7,500

  • Lowers the tax credit to help cover homeschooling expenses from $2,500 to $1,000 and receipts must be shown to prove the expenses

  • An income cap of $250,000 per family would be put in place for anyone applying for the tax credits

  • Establishes $30 million for a new merit-based pay incentive plan for teachers

  • Raises across the board teacher pay from $2,500 for all to a range of $3,000-$6,000 depending on experience, and establishes a state minimum teacher salary of $40,000 annually

State Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R-Edmond) said the reforms open up school choice to more lower and middle income families instead of just being a tax break for the wealthiest whose children already attend private school.

Senate Education Committee Chairman Adam Pugh (R-Edmond) called McCall's threats to kill many of the bills authored by Pugh irresponsible and disappointing, insisting, just as Treat has previously, that the Senate has the right to have a say on any bills before it including making changes to the language.

"Maternity leave for teachers, that's what's being threatened to be killed," Pugh said. "School safety, we are a day after another school shooting, and the speaker is now threatening to kill funding for school safety measures in the State of Oklahoma."

Governor Kevin Stitt (R) was asked about his take on the feud between the House and Senate on The McCall Plan, that Stitt said was a good plan, and he said last week he believed calmer heads would prevail.

McCall said the Senate's bills would be heard in the House as long as they walked back all of their changes they made Monday, but after getting support of Senate leadership after an hours-long meeting on The McCall Plan, that isn't likely to happen.

"I want a vote on the plan unamended the way the House sent it to them," McCall said.

To see how much in new funding House Republicans say will be lost in multiple rural districts, click on this link.

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