Logrolling claim could stem from Oklahoma virtual charter school bill
IN recent years, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has struck down several laws for violating a constitutional prohibition on placing multiple subjects into a single bill, a practice known as “logrolling.”
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The idea is simple: If your bill is unpopular, plug in an unrelated popular idea so legislators will be less likely to vote against the original measure. The latest apparent example comes via Senate Bill 1816, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa. SB 1816, approved in the recently completed session, creates a single statewide virtual charter school, an idea that runs contrary to standard practice for brick-and-mortar charter schools and is opposed by many online vendors.
Although Stanislawski argues that multiple vendors could operate through the single online school, those in the business disagree. Critics argue that requiring online vendors to identify “their” students in the single virtual school (as opposed to those served by a competitor in the same school) is overly complicated. They also stress it will be difficult for vendors to effectively market services and differentiate themselves from other providers if everyone is lumped into one online school.
As a result, online education providers opposed the single-charter plan, seeing it as a choke point for virtual education. Instead of revising the bill to address those concerns, lawmakers came up with another idea — add a provision regarding the “textbook” fund for public schools. In the final version of SB 1816, the first seven sections dealt with virtual education, and then the eighth suddenly designated $30 million for the textbook fund.
Because lawmakers have relaxed mandates, that fund doesn't necessarily go to buy textbooks, but many school districts rely on it to cover other expenses. As a result, for lawmakers to direct $30 million to their local schools, they had to also support a potentially flawed online education model.