The Senate has given its approval to legislation that will restructure membership of the State Board of Education and enhance checks and balances between the board and the superintendent. Senate Bill 435, by President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman and Sen. John Ford, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, passed Monday with the emergency clause on a party-line vote of 32 to 15.
Bingman said that swift action was needed in the legislature to ensure the State Superintendent could do the job voters elected her to do.
“This is an important day for education in Oklahoma,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa. “The vote for a new Superintendent was a vote for education reform. Now those reforms can move forward.”
During debate, Sen. John Ford, R-Bartlesville, said that the current State Board of Education is not accountable to the will of the people. Ford said that SB 435 will address that concern.
“Senate Bill 435 returns the board to the original constitutional structure and strengthens checks and balances by defining the proper role of the superintendent and the board,” Ford said. “The bottom line is creating a structure that will ensure the best interest of Oklahoma’s children will be met.”
Under SB 435, the current board members would be replaced with the Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Senate Bill 435 will now head to the House for further consideration.