By Rep. RICK WEST
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) has recognized me as one of 20 Oklahoma legislators with a conservative voting record that earned a score over 80 percent in the American Conservative Union Foundation’s Center for Legislative Accountability’s most recent scorecard.
Lawmakers from all 50 states, who are fighting for conservative principles, have been invited to attend CPAC’s awards’ ceremony in Florida later this month. While I’m happy to be among those recognized for upholding conservative principles, I can’t make the ceremony. My grandson will be showing his pigs at the county livestock show the same weekend as the award’s presentation. My family takes precedence over any personal honor I might receive. And showing pigs, well, that about speaks for itself.
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On another note, I was glad to see that the Oklahoma State Department of Education recently allocated the first round of Redbud School Funding Grants that the Legislature passed into law last year. Senate Bill 229 addresses funding disparities for brick-and-mortar public school districts that receive below-average funding from annual local tax revenue.
The grants are being paid from a combination of medical marijuana taxes and the Common School Building Equalization Fund. They can be used for acquiring and improving school buildings. The first half of the grants was distributed at the end of January. The remainder will be disbursed in June.
School districts below the state average per student in local property taxes for the building fund and the county-wide millage are eligible to receive these funds. Only public charter schools that provide in-person or blended instruction to a minimum of two-thirds of enrolled students as the primary means of instruction may receive these funds. Statewide virtual charter schools are not eligible.
School districts in our House District 3 receiving Redbud grants are:
- Arkoma: with an initial allocation of $47,294.87 and a maximum allocation, pending all revenue receipts, of $98,308.94.
- Fanshawe: initial $5,084.75; maximum $10,569.36.
- Heavener: initial $77,560.27; maximum $161,219.77.
- Hodgen: initial $31,309.02; maximum $65,080.13.
- Howe: initial $81,049.35; maximum $168.472.30
- LeFlore: initial $20,786.59; maximum $43,207.81.
- Monroe: initial $5,166.59; maximum $10,739.47.
- Panama: initial $18,945.08; maximum $39,379.98.
- Pocola: initial $64,346.53; maximum $133,753.17.
- Poteau: initial $168,560.55; maximum $350,376.44.
- Spiro: initial $55,028.47; maximum $114,384.29.
- Wister: initial $51,661.06; maximum $107,384.67.
Cameron and Shady Point are not receiving a Redbud grant as these districts receive at or above average local tax revenue.
These school districts will be able to put this money to good use, and it should free up some other funding so teachers have more for their classrooms. I was happy to support the legislation that resulted in these grants for our local districts.
As always, if I can help you with anything, feel free to call my Capitol office at (405) 557-7413 or email me at email@example.com.
Rick West serves District 3 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes part of LeFlore County.