Monday, February 23, 2015

Statutorily created funding sources and ESAs

Andrew C. Spiropoulos, who serves as the Robert S. Kerr, Sr. Professor of Constitutional Law at the Oklahoma City University School of Law, recently answered the objection raised by some ESA opponents that our state constitution requires that education funding go to districts rather than to students.
Comes now the objection that it may be illegal to divert 1017 money, Commissioners of the Land Office funds, or other statutorily created funding sources to ESAs. Prof. Spiropoulos says "there is no merit to these objections."

First, the HB 1017 fund is a statutory fund that can be modified by the legislature at any time. The same thing is true with any fund created by statute. The general rule is that if a later statute conflicts with a previously enacted one, the later prevails. In any event, there is no problem because the the HB 1017 fund consists of less than 30 percent of the money appropriated for common education. The ESA funding can come from the bulk of the agency budget funded by general revenues. The same point answers the Land Office funds questions. These funds make up a tiny percentage of the money appropriated to common education. None of that money need be touched.

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