Oklahoma Democrats ask AG for determination on Stitt’s COVID-19 spending for private school students | Govt-and-politics

OKLAHOMA CITY — A group of Democratic House members asked Attorney General Mike Hunter on Monday to determine whether Gov. Kevin Stitt appropriately spent COVID-19 relief funds when he designated $10 million for private school students.

Seven members of the House Democratic Education Policy Team asked Hunter to examine how Stitt’s office distributed funds from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, called GEER. The members want Hunter to determine whether Stitt was within his authority when he chose to send a portion of the funds to private schools.

“We requested this opinion because it’s time to stop this ‘do as I say, not as I do’ approach to government funding,” said Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Del City.

The funding is not a slush fund for the governor to spend as he pleases, Fugate said.

Stitt announced in July that $10 million of the nearly $40 million in GEER funds would go to students currently attending private schools whose continued attendance is threatened by the financial fallout of COVID-19.

His office said more than 1,500 families would be able to access up to $6,500 each.

Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa, questioned the spending for private schools when it was announced.

Provenzano said the GEER funds are supposed to be used to help low-income students. Stitt may have applied an incorrect standard in determining how those funds could be used, she said.

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