Education Funding

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A bill that seeks to increase the lottery's contribution to education funding is heading to the Governor Mary Fallin's desk.

By law, the Oklahoma lottery gives 35 percent of its profits to education. But officials from the Oklahoma Lottery Commission say this mandate is actually stifling the amount of money that goes to schools.

They say it limits their ability to award large cash prizes, and so a lot of people don't play.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Superintendents across Oklahoma are begging lawmakers to do something about school funding. Ultimately, school officials want more money, but that requires raising taxes, which is a tough thing to do in Oklahoma—for many reasons. However, this year, solutions are popping up in unexpected places.

The Superintendent of Ponca City Public Schools, David Pennington, said if education funding is cut next year he is going to have to drastically change the way his school functions.  

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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 state legislature reaching the halfway point in the session, leaders of the House and Senate announce they hope to limit cuts to common education to little or nothing in the upcoming fiscal year and Scott Pruitt faces an investigation by the Oklahoma Bar Association on accusations of lying to a U.S. Senate committee during his confirmation hearing to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

OSSBA

Education funding is down more than $110 million from the beginning of last school year in Oklahoma. While legislators struggle to ensure things won't get worse, schools are already preparing for potential cuts.

A survey conducted by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association asked school districts across the state how more budget cuts would affect them next year.

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 fate of teacher raises and funding for education after Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly defeated a state question to provide a penny sales tax to fund those things.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Oklahoma leads the nation in cuts to per-pupil funding for the third straight year.

According to a new national comparison conducted by the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, the amount of money the state spends through the funding formula on each student’s education has dropped by nearly 27 percent since 2008.

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.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

The state Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday over the legality of a petition to fund education through a one-cent sales tax. The debate focuses on whether the petition should be broken down in to multiple subjects, or remain as one.

Attorneys for OCPA Impact, argued that the initiative petition would do four things:

Emily Wendler / KOSU

University of Oklahoma President, David Boren, and his education advocacy group filed a petition with the Secretary of State Monday, that will ask voters to support a one-cent sales tax increase to fund education.

“Are our kids worth a penny?” Boren asked his listeners at the state capitol.

Various estimates say the tax could cost an Oklahoma family anywhere from $75 to $250 a year.

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