Key events in Oklahoma common education
1891: The Oklahoma Territorial Legislature passes law requiring four nine-square-mile school districts per township. The goal is that students be within walking distance of school.
1907: Oklahoma becomes the 46th state on Nov. 16, with 5,656 school districts.
1918: The Oklahoma Education Association is formed.
1955: The state legislature and Gov. Raymond Gary promote consolidation through the “Better Schools Amendment,” which is passed by voters. It effectively closes many of the state's segregated schools.
1955-56: Oklahoma integrates 273 schools, mostly in urban areas.
1961: Alphonso Dowell, a black man, sues the Oklahoma City school district so his son could attend an all-white high school. A 1972 U.S. Supreme Court ruling requires Oklahoma City to bus students around the district.
1990: House Bill 1017, the Educational Reform Act, is signed into law by Gov. Henry Bellmon, creating the state Office of Accountability and Educational Oversight Board.
2006: The School Consolidation Assistance Fund is created. It is amended in 2009 to specify the use for voluntary and mandatory annexations or consolidations. The fund has about $6 million in July 2012.
2009: In March, state senators pass Senate Bill 834, also known as the School District Empowerment Program. Part of the program would have given local school district officials authority in how state funds were spent with a few exceptions. In May, Gov. Brad Henry vetoed SB 834, saying the bill would “essentially turn back the clock on much of that important progress and weaken landmark reforms by allowing school administrators to create their own rules and ignore more rigorous state standards...”
2010: Oklahomans defeat State Question 744, also known as the Helping Oklahoma Public Education Act. SQ 744 would have mandated that Oklahoma spend at least the regional average per student on common education.
June 2012: Gov. Mary Fallin tells the Oklahoma Press Association convention she will encourage public school districts to consolidate or share administrative services.
Sources: Oklahoma Education Association, Schoolreportcard.org, Oklahoma State Department of Education, Oklahoma Historical Society, School Annexation and Consolidation in Oklahoma: 2009, Oklahoma State Legislature, Ballotpedia.org