By Associated Press - Friday, April 2, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma City Public Schools is challenging a settlement that the State Board of Education approved aiming to change how schools are funded in the state.

The school district filed a petition Wednesday challenging the board’s authority to settle a 2017 lawsuit allowing charter schools to receive more local tax dollars.

The lawsuit, filed by the Oklahoma Public Charter School Association, claimed that charter schools are due an equal share of revenues. Funds currently flow only to traditional public schools from Oklahoma’s gross production, motor vehicle and rural electrification association tax collections, state school land earnings and county tax collections.

The petition filed by the Oklahoma City school district seeks a temporary restraining order, as well as a declaratory judgment about how state statutes and the Oklahoma Constitution’s provisions on school funding should be interpreted.

In a split 4-3 vote on March 25, board members settled the years-old lawsuit despite strong objections of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister and apparently the legal advice of the board’s own attorney.

“It is unfortunate that because of the State Board’s overreaching action we are forced to continue directing our limited time and resources to address an issue that is clearly unlawful and not in the best interest of the more than 700,000 students who attend traditional public schools in Oklahoma. OKCPS remains committed to protecting the financial resources necessary to serve our students,” district spokeswoman Beth Harrison said in a Thursday press statement.

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