Oklahoma house crams education bills on deadline

BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer

Friday, March 15, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY – A fistful of education bills – including two that would give school districts more flexibility in dealing with state mandates and another that creates a task force to study the controversial A-F school grading system – limboed under the deadline for House passage.

Thursday was the so-called Third Reading Deadline – the final day for legislation originating in the House of Representatives to be voted on in the House – and lawmakers ground through more than 40 pieces of legislation in one day.

Those of note included House Bill 2131, by Rep. Jeff Hickman, R-Dacoma, and HB 2087, by Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City. Both are so-called “deregulation” bills that would grant districts the same exemptions from state regulations as charter schools. The districts would still have to meet most personnel-related mandates, including minimum pay, benefits and teaching credentials.

Hickman’s bill would transition all districts into the opt-out system over a five-year period, although districts could choose to continue meeting some or all state requirements. Nelson’s bill would make the process entirely voluntary.

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