The ClassWallet Controversy and the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA)

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( — May 18, 2023) — When Governor Stitt tapped Ryan Walters for Oklahoma’s Secretary of Education position, it seemed like a savvy political move at the time. The move made sense given the state’s right-leaning politics. Walters is the CEO of Every Kid Counts Oklahoma, a nonprofit organization that advocates for children throughout Oklahoma. He served as an appointed member of Stitt’s Cabinet until early 2023 when he was elected School Superintendent. 

Superintendent Walters attracted controversy in his role on Stitt’s Cabinet. For example, he collected two separate salaries during his stint as Secretary of Education, $40,000 yearly as a cabinet member and $124,373 for his State Superintendent position. While it wasn’t illegal, many think drawing two salaries from the state’s coffers is questionable ethics. Walters is also very outspoken about pushing back against what he and others in the National Republican Party view as educational indoctrination into woke politics. Even as his critics attempt to reign in his rulemaking ability, they still support his politics. 

ClassWallet Scandal

ClassWallet is a money application specifically designed for and used by parents to manage school supply costs and other education-related expenses. During the pandemic, the federal government earmarked $8 million for education relief and boosted ClassWallet appropriations. Indeed, 13 states with 3,900 schools use ClassWallet for school expenses.

The power of bulk buying and donations helps parents save as much as 90% on school-related items. For millions of students, ClassWallet helped ease the burden of homeschooling with technology like WiFi connections and laptops. The money app has numerous positive reviews and is quickly becoming the go-to application for buying discounted school supplies.

Consequently, you can imagine the uproar when it was revealed that Walters misappropriated ClassWallet funds when he used them to buy gaming consoles, televisions, Christmas trees, and other items unrelated to education. Making matters worse for Walters was a controversial move to use $10 million for school vouchers, particularly for schools many can’t afford. Critics argue Walter only made income disparity worse in Oklahoma. 

Where Is the OCPA?

Misappropriation of education funds isn’t Walters’ only misstep. He has repeatedly voiced his right-wing ideology on such issues as transgender sports and woke political ideology. Oklahoma and Walters support keeping books and materials that teach children about other views out of the state curriculum. In the process, the support for anti-indoctrination policies has wide support in the state capital. Despite his anti-woke Christmas tweet, Walters enjoyed support among citizens, who voted for him as School Superintendent. 

The Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs (OCPA) supported Walters’ appointment as Secretary of Education, despite ongoing investigations into his handling of ClassWallet and Covid-19 relief grants. Going forward, the OCPA supports Walters’ election as School Superintendent, even going as far as supporting efforts to put more money into ClassWallet via Senate Bill 1647, the “Oklahoma Empowerment Act.”


Although ongoing investigations into Walters’ use of ClassWallet to reward friends and supporters loom over those who use the app, the OCPA might have enough power from bias and threats to continue operating without full faith support from all Oklahomans. Once a state government starts hiding what it does with constituent money, a suspicious cloud starts polluting everything else. This explains why the OCPA Board took to social media to bully a critic.