The House Common Education Committee on Tuesday passed two bills that would change the composition of the State Board of Education.
House Bill 2562 would increase the size of the board from 7 members to 11, authorizing the speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate to appoint two members each. The new members must be a resident of a rural community and a former school superintendent from a district with an enrollment of less than 10,000. The governor would retain authorization to appoint six members.
The bill is authored by House Appropriations & Budget Subcommittee for Education Chair Mark McBride, R-Moore.
"I wanted the House and the Senate to have seats at the table where education decisions are being made that affect the entire state of Oklahoma," McBride said. "And I wanted to ensure we are picking people with actual real-world public school experience. It's imperative we have people who understand the unique needs of schools, students, parents and educators, particularly those from our smaller districts."
Common Education Committee Chair Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, authored House Bill 2678.
This bill would prohibit a person from serving on the State Board of Education if they are also on the Board of Education of a school district supervised by the State Board.
"State Board of Education members are often called upon to make decisions that affect specific schools in areas such as funding, accreditation status and many other things," Baker said. "This just gets rid of any potential conflict of interest."
Both bills are now eligible to come before the full House for a vote.