ZIP CODES SHOULD NOT DICTATE DESTINY
Scholarship granting organizations (SGOs) provide funding for students to attend the school that’s right for them if their neighborhood public school isn’t the best fit. Education improvement grant organizations (EIGOs) contribute funding to rural schools, ensuring smaller districts have the support they need. Elevate Oklahoma’s Kids supports students attending the right school for their needs.
SGOs and EIGOs turn donations into improved educational experiences.
While some students thrive in a normal public school environment, others need a specialized curriculum and attention only the right school can provide. SGOs partner with over 100 accredited Oklahoma schools. These schools provide scholarships to families based on financial need and distribute the dollars accordingly. This allows their children to not be limited by financial circumstances and find the right school to fit their needs.
EIGOs help public schools provide an exceptional education to thousands of students every year. These schools are in rural and suburban districts that need extra financial assistance to provide innovative curriculum for their students.
No child’s potential should be limited; whether a student is faced with learning disabilities, developmental disorders, bullying, substance abuse issues, financial limitations or homelessness, he or she deserves a chance to succeed. SB 407 is about helping all kids at all schools throughout the state, not just those born into certain circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Elevate Oklahoma’s Kids?
Elevate Oklahoma’s Kids is a coalition of SGOs, EIGOs and passionate people who support increasing the tax credit cap on donations to scholarship and grant programs. Increasing the cap through SB 407 will encourage more donations, in turn helping more kids at more schools.
All children deserve the best education possible, no matter their learning style. Supporting scholarship and grant programs gets the state closer to ensuring all students at all schools have what they need to succeed.
What types of schools do SGOs support?
Several SGOs are active in Oklahoma, each with its own mission and focus. Some support schools affiliated with religious groups, while others provide funding to students who:
- Have learning disabilities or developmental delays
- Have been bullied
- Have struggled with or are recovering from substance abuse issues
- Are experiencing homelessness
- Thrive with individualized, personalized attention
Many of these students wouldn’t be able to attend the schools they need to without the help of SGOs.
What can be done to make more scholarships available?
We have to increase the tax credit cap. When donors meet the legislatively enacted tax credit cap, their eligible credits are reduced after the fact and the remaining credits are suspended until the next immediate tax year. The Legislature must pass SB 407 to increase the cap, therefore encouraging more donations and providing important benefits to students and families.
How do scholarship granting organizations work?
Oklahoma law includes rules for creating scholarship granting organizations (SGOs). SGOs take donations from people and companies, then provide the funds to families to pay for tuition to accredited member schools. SGOs must disburse at least 90% of the money they receive each calendar year in the form of scholarships for eligible students during the following academic year. Donors are eligible for state tax credits.
How do education improvement grants work?
Oklahoma law includes rules for creating education improvement granting organizations (EIGO) to directly support innovative programs in rural public schools. Each EIGO is required to disburse at least 90% of the funds it receives each calendar year during the following academic year.
Grants help public schools in a variety of ways. The Academy of Seminole, for example, used funds to pay for college courses and career-ready programs for high school students. A grant which went to Pawhuska Public Schools helped to build an early college high school model to increase options for rural students. Mangum Public Schools used a grant to upgrade infrastructure, purchase interactive whiteboards and provide students and teachers with laptops.
Do SGOs and EIGOs take money from other state programs?
Tax credits for donations to SGOs and EIGOs pay for themselves! A study by Oklahoma City University economists found every $1 of tax credit issued for our scholarships saves $1.51 in the state budget. The fiscal impact to the state is determined by the tradeoff of tax revenue and the state’s per-pupil expenditures for common education.