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Oklahoma’s parental choice tax credit update: ‘Non-priority’ applications now being reviewed

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Oklahoma’s parental choice tax credit update: ‘Non-priority’ applications now being reviewed


The Oklahoma Tax Commission is still working through thousands of applications for the state’s new parental choice tax credits, five months after the high-demand program launched.

About $25 million is left to disburse from the program’s $150 million budget, according to the state agency. The Tax Commission reported $100 million went to 16,800 priority applicants whose households earn no more than $150,000 a year.

The refundable credits offer between $5,000 and $7,500 per student, depending on family income, to offset private-school costs.

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Families in the priority group had extra time to apply, and their applications were considered first. The remaining applicants from higher-earning households are considered on a first-come-first-served basis.

About 36,000 people total applied for the tax credits, most of whom did so in the first 90 minutes of the program’s launch.

More: New education secretary vows to be a voice for parents, teachers and children fighting to learn

With the priority families approved, the Tax Commission is now reviewing non-priority applicants, 4,300 of whom already have been accepted, agency spokesperson Emily Haxton said. The commission relies on its internal records to verify the total income of each family.

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The total budget for the private-school program will increase to $200 million in 2025 and $250 million in 2026.

A separate $5 million program offers $1,000 per student for homeschooling costs.

How the parental tax credit program has changed since it was first implemented

The Oklahoma Legislature tweaked the program during its session this year, most notably to prevent the credits from being used to offset delinquent tax liabilities or unpaid debts. Under the program’s current rules, the Tax Commission could deduct a family’s tax credits to cover unpaid obligations.

The credits are now approved by school year rather than calendar year, and they are exempt from taxable income.

Lawmakers also added a provision to offer students the maximum $7,500 credit if they attend an accredited private school that exclusively serves children experiencing homelessness. There is only one such school in the state, Positive Tomorrows in Oklahoma City.

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More: K-12 education freedom is expanding, but even more can be done for Oklahoma families | Opinion

Students also could qualify for the maximum credit amount if they attend a private school that has 90% enrollment from financially disadvantaged families, defined as earning 250% of the federal poverty line or below. 

The Legislature’s top two leaders, House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, and Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, were the primary authors of the changes, which Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed into law.

“It gives more clarity on some things that we thought were pretty common sense, but they weren’t written as specifically as they needed to (in the original legislation),” Treat said. “It also opens up new opportunities for the poorest among us to be able to take advantage of that tax credit.”

Oklahoma Voice is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Oklahoma Voice maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Janelle Stecklein for questions: info@oklahomavoice.com. Follow Oklahoma Voice on Facebook and Twitter.

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Oklahoma

Live updates: Severe weather, with potential for tornadoes, forecast to move through Oklahoma

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Live updates: Severe weather, with potential for tornadoes, forecast to move through Oklahoma


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Oklahoma is bracing for yet another round of severe weather Saturday evening.

According to the National Weather Service, all potential hazards are possible, including high winds, hail, heavy rain, and tornadoes.

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This article will be updated through the night as the weather develops across the state.

Severe thunderstorms have crossed into Oklahoma from Texas. Most of Oklahoma remains under a tornado watch until 11 p.m.

Organizers of the Paseo Arts Festival announced on Facebook that the event will be closing at 5 p.m. Saturday. The festival will return from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Sunday, and from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Monday.

Riverwind Casino in Norman announced its Beats and Bites event has been postponed until a later date. Tickets to the event can be refunded.

Prepare for severe weather now

Regardless of any particular forecast, here are some things you can do to get ready for Oklahoma’s severe weather season.

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  • Figure out now where you’ll go if you need to seek shelter; there are no public shelters in Oklahoma City
  • If you have access to a storm shelter, clean it out and get ready to use it
  • Get a flashlight and spare batteries
  • If you own a weather radio, make sure it’s programmed and working properly
  • Identify your source for immediate weather information, like from local meteorologists
  • Sit down with your family and discuss what to do if there is a tornado threat
  • Do you have pets? Make sure there’s a plan to keep your furry friends safe and secure

Oklahoma rainfall totals

Find daily rainfall totals using this Oklahoma Mesonet rainfall map.



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OKLAHOMA LEGISLATION ‘RIPE FOR ABUSE BY LITIGIOUS INDIVIDUALS’

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OKLAHOMA LEGISLATION ‘RIPE FOR ABUSE BY LITIGIOUS INDIVIDUALS’


In politics, there is often a gap between the stated intentions for legislation and the real-world consequences. That’s the case with a bill approved by the Oklahoma Legislature this year. What was touted as an effort to protect women from stalkers would instead allow typical Oklahomans to be sued for …

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The Ripple Effect Of Great Leadership With Oklahoma’s Leah Beasley

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The Ripple Effect Of Great Leadership With Oklahoma’s Leah Beasley


Oklahoma Executive Associate AD Leah Beasley joins ADU’s Tai M. Brown at the 2024 PACnet Conference to discuss the ripple effects of great leaders on department culture and the fan experience. Beasley also discusses the intangible ROI of unexpected, spur of the moment marketing efforts on brand-building: “How well are we telling our story?” Beasley and Brown also explore the value of “forced collaboration” or having an arena where the entire staff can get on the same page and the core values of transparency and trust.

The conversation is indexed below for efficient viewing (click the time stamp to jump to a specific question/topic).



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