Education Funding

okcps.org

The Oklahoma City Public School Board of Education meeting was packed with angry community members on Monday night.

Many people in the crowd felt the district was being dishonest about a proposal to close a local elementary school.

Last Wednesday, OKCPS administrators released information about their proposal to close North Highlands Elementary in northeast Oklahoma City, just five days before the school board was set to vote on it.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Residents of Oklahoma City will soon be asked if they support raising their own income tax, in order to increase funding for city schools.

Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid, along with other concerned community members, announced this morning they will soon circulate two initiative petitions.

Each petition will seek a 0.25% increase in the income tax rate. If the group gathers enough petition signatures, the measures will go to a vote of the people in a special election.

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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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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.

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