Steven Taylor
(Mike Allen)

So a deal got done after all, and we can all start educating again. What a relief!

Last week, the Oklahoma Legislature announced and passed an agreement to increase common education appropriations by $625 million, with another $160 million supporting school safety and reading specialist programs over the next three years. The funding moved through the Legislature quickly and unlocked a related tax credit bill for homeschool and private school families, even though a couple of weeks earlier it looked like discussions between House and Senate leaders were stuck in a stalemate.

Negotiations were helped along by former Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Steven Taylor, who served as mediator in crunch time. Taylor’s presence and mediation skills — which reportedly included shuttle diplomacy up and down the stairs at the Governor’s Mansion — were praised by all parties. Even though Taylor was not paid for his services, Gov. Kevin Stitt joked that he needed to buy the McAlester attorney a gift certificate to Pete’s Place. (I expect journalists will follow up with the governor and press him on the matter.)

Regardless, everyone knows that when you need a hit in a pinch, you call up a heavy hitter. In this case, he likely used a gavel.

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