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Oklahoma lawmaker pledges to help private school obtain funding

Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, has introduced a shell bill that he says will soon contain language to restore public funding to Positive Tomorrows.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND mrolland@opubco.com Published: December 19, 2012
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While students at Positive Tomorrows enjoyed face painting, Santa and stuffing, Rep. Joe Dorman worked behind the counter serving up lunches.

He's pledged to work just as hard at the Capitol this session to serve up some funding.

Positive Tomorrows is a private school that serves 46 elementary school students who have been identified as homeless or home insecure in Oklahoma City. The nonprofit operates on just under $1 million a year.

The funding comes entirely from private donors, but that wasn't always the case.

Before 2004, Positive Tomorrows was a part of Oklahoma City Public Schools and received $400,000 in federal funding and other funds from the school district.

But a change in federal policy prohibited money dedicated to homeless students by the McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act from being spent on programs where homeless students were segregated from the at-large student population.

That is precisely what Positive Tomorrows does.

The school closed for a year, regrouped and now operates solely on donations.

Dorman, D-Rush Springs, has introduced a shell bill that he says will soon contain language to restore public funding to Positive Tomorrows.

“The bill will re-designate Positive Tomorrows as a specific type of magnet school or charter school to put them back in the school district for funding,” Dorman said. “It won't be a huge hit to the budget because there is one school in the state of Oklahoma that does this.”

Winter break camp

Most students are home for winter break, but at Positive Tomorrows, students are in school taking field trips, caroling at a nursing home and learning through fun, hands-on activities.

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