Posted Date: 05/24/2023
The state House of Representatives and Senate appropriations committees on Tuesday afternoon passed a common education budget bill that seeks to reign in the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s handling of competitive federal grants.
Lawmakers want the Education Department to seek “joint approval” from the Senate president pro tem and the House speaker before forgoing any federal education grants previously won by the state of Oklahoma.
The move comes in the wake of the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s former grant writer’s claims that State Superintendent Ryan Walters lied to lawmakers at a recent public hearing and concerns that current and future federal grant funding for Oklahoma public school students is in jeopardy.
Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, explained at Tuesday’s House committee meeting, “This was something I wanted inserted” in SB 36x.
Terri Grissom, a longtime grant writer, told McBride, as well as two other lawmakers and the Tulsa World earlier this month that Walters was lying when he said in a May 1 legislative committee meeting that the State Department of Education had applied for millions of competitive grants since he took office.
The only grant writer at the Education Department until her April 18 resignation, Grissom said not one grant application had been submitted since January. She also claimed that the behind-the-scenes reality at the Education Department under Walters’ leadership included a complete standstill on contract work for previously awarded competitive federal grants. See Tulsa Wrld story