PV district joins school lawsuit

Pauls Valley's school district has joined a long list of others now pursuing a lawsuit over a recent measure that could result in some state funding going to charter schools.

At the request of Superintendent Mike Martin, all five local board members agreed Pauls Valley should be among the districts formally disputing the recent action by the Oklahoma State Board of Education.

The local vote came Wednesday night as Martin says if the state board's vote stands it means school districts like PV will have some of their state funding redirected to follow the students turning to charter schools and virtual classes.

“This is about more money going to charter and virtual charter schools,” he said during the regular school board meeting.

“This is a direct attack on public schools. If someone were to come in and set up a charter school here they would get some of the ad valorem money. They would take that money away from us. We don't need someone to chip away at that.”

The action now being questioned was the state board's close vote last week to settle a 2017 lawsuit with the State Charter Schools Association.

There are some, like State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who believe the move was unconstitutional.

Martin told board members more than 160 school districts have voted to be a part of the lawsuit.

“I'm asking that we join that,” he said as moments later board members agreed.

“This passed 4-3 against the advice of their counsel and state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. They usually don't disregard the advice of the state superintendent.”

PV's school superintendent says he doesn't recall anything like school districts suing the state education board ever happening before.

At Martin's advice the local board also voted to set a limit of $2,500 in how much PV school money could be spent to participate in this lawsuit.

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