David Boren

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the historic teacher walkout which has brought thousands of educators and supporters to call for more school funding and Tulsa oilman George Kaiser says more tax hikes are needed after pay raises for education and state workers last week.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the State House and Senate agreeing to send the governor a $474M tax increase to fund pay raises for teachers, school support staff and state workers. Meanwhile, the Board of Corrections calls on lawmakers to provide $9M in supplemental funds just to pay bills over the next three months.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the announcement by University of Oklahoma President David Boren that he is stepping down from the job at the end of the school year, the state legislature gears up to start a special session to fix the budget on Monday and Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz says he is considering the position of executive director of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.

Josh Robinson

Oklahoma teachers haven’t received a statewide pay raise in eight years. But this November, voters will have a chance to boost teacher pay if they approve State Question 779, which would fund the raises through a one-cent sales tax.

Education advocates say this could prevent teachers from fleeing the state, or the profession, for better paying jobs. But opponents argue the proposal would create an entirely different set of problems.

THE CASE FOR MORE FUNDING

There’s a fairly widespread consensus in Oklahoma that education needs more funding.

The City of Edmond passed a resolution Monday night opposing a ballot initiative this fall that would raise Oklahoma’s sales tax by 1 percent to pay for education.

The tax hike would raise about $615 million per year for common and higher education in the state, but Edmond city leaders are worried it would hinder economic development. Oklahoma is the only state in the U.S. where cities and towns rely on local sales taxes as their primary source of revenue.

facebook.com/Big12

The Big 12 is bringing back its football championship game in 2017, regardless of whether the conference expands from its current 10 members.

Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Friday that university presidents and chancellors unanimously voted to approve "in concept the re-implementation of a championship football game."

As expected, there was no resolution from the conference on the topic of expansion.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the state question coming to the ballot in November to raise state sales tax by one penny to pay for education, a suggestion to GOP Presidential front runner that Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin would make a good running mate and new bills signed by Fallin into law.

The trio also discusses the budget and a new education program through the Oklahoma Policy Institute to educate people on the budget through humor.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Jason McMullen taught in Oklahoma for 12 years before he finally decided to move to Arkansas. When he left, his salary was $41,000. His wife was a teacher too, and earned less.  

"It just got to a point where it’s hard to buy a house," he said. "It’s hard to pay bills, it’s hard to raise kids."

After all their bills were paid each month, McMullen says he and his wife had about $250 left for groceries and other living expenses.

"I just could not financially afford to stay any longer," he said.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about a special election win by the Democratic candidate in the heavily Republican Senate seat, the State Supreme Court rules a penny sales tax petition constitutional and former Democratic Congressman Dan Boren says he's considering a run for Governor in 2018.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled that a proposed penny sales tax that would pay for a teacher pay raise and fund other areas of education in Oklahoma can be placed on a ballot for a statewide vote.

In a 6-3 decision Tuesday, the state's highest court rejected claims that measure unconstitutionally combines multiple subjects into a single vote.

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