Update: Open Transfer Act Passes House Floor 02/25/21
The Open Transfer Act, promoted by Gov. Kevin Stitt during his State of the State address, passed the House Education Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 16 with a vote of 11-3. This Act, numbered House Bill 2074, proposes to implement specific measures that would make the transfer of students between public schools more accessible. House Speaker Charles McCall authored the bill.
Under the current system (generally), if a student seeks to transfer to a new district, then the student must complete and submit an official form of request to the receiving school district between Jan. 1 and May 31 of the preceding academic year for which the transfer is desired. The receiving district’s school board must accept or deny the transfer request no later then July 15. The transfer request can be denied on a number of grounds established partially by state law and partially by the local school board.
The Open Transfer Act (HB 2074) would change a few salient things in the transfer process. First, the Act removes the set deadlines. It requires local school boards to consider inter-district transfer requests throughout the year. Second, it requires school districts to determine and publicly post their student capacity limits and include the current number of available student spots. And thirdly, the Open Transfer Act limits the grounds on which an inter-district transfer request can be denied to three main standards: the student’s attendance record, the student’s behavioral record, and the receiving school district’s maximum student capacity.
The Open Transfer Act, according to Rep. Brad Boles who presented the bill before committee “is designed to give parents more options, increase transparency in the transfer process, and increase competition between districts.”
A few committee members expressed concern regarding how open transfers would affect the allocation of per-pupil funding. Rep. Boles responded that there are still a few details to iron out but that the funding issue is addressed in separate legislation.
The “separate legislation” mentioned addressing the funding question is the Oklahoma School Funding Reform Act of 2021 (HB 2078), also authored by House Speaker Charles McCall. The Reform Act, like the Open Transfer Act, was a central part of Gov. Stitt’s State of the State address regarding ‘ghost students.’ More information about the Oklahoma School Funding Reform Act will be provided on Capitol Corner soon.
Please be sure to look for our upcoming member survey to share your opinions on the Open Transfer Act.