Understanding House Bill 1934 and my Endorsement
Many of you know that in the summer of 2023, the Oklahoma Legislature and Governor Kevin Stitt passed common education legislation titled House Bill 1934. This bill is part of a larger education funding deal Stitt and the Legislature agreed upon making a tax credit of at least $5,000 available for every school-aged child, with the credit eligible to help offset private school tuition. The credit for private school tuition increases to $7,500 per child in households making less than $75,000 annually. Additionally, parents of homeschool students can claim a $1,000 tax credit per child for online curricula, tutoring, instructional materials, and other qualified expenses. HB 1934 goes into effect in January 2024.
Background: I have hosted several dinners at my home in the last several decades with regional business leaders including Jim Walton (Walton Family Foundation), Tom Hill (Kimray), Tom Love (Love’s Travel Stop), Brad Krieger (Arvest) and others. The discussion encompassed key common education questions to include 1) Can America do better in education? 2) What can US States do to advance and amplify our youth’s academic achievement? 3) Can there be a platform where parents have more choices relative to their children? 4) Where and How does the business sector get involved to make a difference?
To sum up the evening, Jim Walton explained that the Walton family and their foundation have worked for decades (and donated tens of millions of dollars) alongside education leaders in communities across the country. Their goal? To increase access to high-quality education. When this happens, opportunity and a self-determined life are in reach for every child.
Thoughts: I agree with Mr. Walton’s position. He stated “Our country has made progress to address educational and racial inequities in the classroom. But the challenges that remain are both daunting and humbling. We must confront the sobering fact that our education system still tolerates a significant opportunity gap. This exacerbates downward mobility for too many children, rather than propelling them upwards.”
So, it makes sense to support and endorse House Bill 1934. It is my hope that broad-based school choice produces better academic outcomes as more children have access to the environment that best suits their unique needs, whether that’s in a public school, private school, or homeschool. We need more ideas that have a measurable impact on student success. We should tailor and scale what works. Doing so meets the urgent needs of today’s students and creates lasting change for future generations.
HB 1934 Details
HB 1934 establishes a tiered system of tax credits for parents or guardians who send their children to accredited private schools based on a household’s total adjusted gross income. The credits are available on a per–student, per-year basis. If the tuition and fees are less than the maximum tax credit amount, the credit will be limited to the cost of tuition and fees.
The tiers for household income are as follows:
Less than $75,000 – a parent may receive up to a $7,500 credit
$75,000-$150,000 – a parent may receive up to a $7,000 credit
$150,000-$225,000 – a parent may receive up to a $6,500 credit
$225,000-$250,000 – a parent may receive up to a $6,000 credit
$250,000 or more – a parent may receive up to a $5,000 credit.
The bill also establishes a $1,000 per student income tax credit for qualified expenses related to homeschooling. Qualified expenses include:
Tuition and fees for nonpublic online learning programs
Academic tutoring services
Fees for nationally standardized assessments
The bill also caps the total amount of credits that may be claimed each year:
Total tax credits for homeschooling expenses are capped at $5 million per year.
For tax year 2024, credits for private school expenses are capped at $150 million.
For tax year 2025, credits for private school expenses are capped at $200 million.
For tax year 2026 and subsequent tax years, credits for private school expenses are capped at $250 million.