Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has recently signed a public school funding measure to be placed on the November ballot.
Schools are currently prohibited from using funds from property taxes unless it is used primarily to fund their buildings. If this issue gets approved, it will impact how school districts will be able to spend their money.
Oklahoma State Question 801 gives the option to use funds from property taxes for things other than buildings.
“It allows them to use it for all the ordinary things for schools teacher pay and everything else,” says Ben Loring, Oklahoma State Representative.
It would also prevent taxes from being raised in the school district. Oklahoma State Representative Ben Loring says this would impact people that have more money in wealthier districts as opposed to those that do not.
“It would be a tough battle to get those kinds of bond issues passed so to me it’s kind of reminiscent to the separate but equal we would have a two tiered system of schools in Oklahoma, so they would be separate but they certainly wouldn’t be equal,” says Ben Loring.
Fairland Public School Superintendent Mark Alexander believes it would also mean more difficulties for poorer districts.
“If there is a poor district where the property tax values are not that high and the property tax values that come into the school district are not that high compared to a district who has a power plant or a marina,” says Mark Alexander.
He says those wealthier sites are more likely to generate additional funding. However Alexander does see the other side of the issue.
“It is that dollars can be put into classroom we would even us we would have the flexibility to take those dollars and put into the classroom, into facilities, or into teacher salaries,” says Mark Alexander.
Representative Loring adds he hopes if this passes it does not affect legislatures from cutting funding currently existing from the state. Voting will take place to decide this issue on November 6th.