OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill to provide better access to childcare for Oklahoma’s teachers and school employees passed out of the Senate Monday. Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, authored Senate Bill 16 to create a pilot program to provide childcare grants to school districts.
“We’ve been working so hard in recent years to find innovative ways to help retain our current teachers and recruit more outstanding professionals to our classrooms. As a former teacher and from speaking with other educators, I know one of the major problems is having access to childcare or being able to afford it if its available,” Bullard said. “This will create a two-year pilot program where districts can apply for grants to either provide on-site childcare services, contract with a local daycare, or help employees pay for such services. This is a commonsense benefit for families that will hopefully keep teachers and school employees in the workforce.”
SB 16 directs the State Board of Education to establish a two-year pilot program to award grants to school districts to provide childcare for school district employees. Grants could be used to establish an on-site childcare facility on school district property, contract with a childcare facility, or provide stipends to employees to help cover a portion of childcare-related expenses. The board will establish the grant criteria. The Department of Human Services would provide guidance and technical support to districts awarded grants. Participating districts would submit a report to the board after completing the two-year pilot program.
“One of the biggest barriers to teaching, and many other professions, is the cost of early childcare for families. In fact, after numerous studies, it was found that this was one of the greatest factors that led to the Great Resignation nationwide during the pandemic,” Bullard said. “Having a pilot program will allow us to see what the best way is to set this up before we attempt to go statewide. I’m grateful for my colleagues’ support, and I hope the House gives this fair consideration and doesn’t let politics get in the way of good policy for our dedicated teachers and school employees.”
The measure now goes to the House where Rep. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle, will serve as the principal House author.
For more information, contact: Sen. Bullard: (405) 521-5586 or David.Bullard@oksenate.gov