In The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.
Today In The News
No chance for teacher pay raise, House minority leader says: The state expects to have at least $900.8 million less to allocate in crafting the fiscal year 2017 budget. To close the hole, Fallin has suggested the review of sales tax exemptions, an increase in the cigarette tax and applying the sales tax to services, among other things. Meanwhile, the state is facing a teacher shortage. Inman, D-Del City, said tax increases would require a supermajority in both houses of the Legislature, which is unlikely to happen [Tulsa World].
Plan to fund Oklahoma teacher pay increase draws opposition: Millions of dollars in property tax money dedicated to school building funds could be diverted to teacher salaries under a proposal supported by the governor. There is up to $200 million in unused building funds that could theoretically be applied to teacher salaries if legislation was passed to permit this, said John Estus, a spokesman for the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services. House Minority Leader Scott Inman criticized the building fund proposal, saying it “would shift the tax burden for educational support from a state tax base to local property owners, such as Oklahoma farmers and ranchers” [NewsOK].
Tahlequah Public Schools prepares for $2 million cut for next year: Students and educators across the state are looking at major changes for the 2016-2017 school year as the state braces for one of its biggest budget shortfalls in history. “Our district will prepare for $1.5 million to $2 million less in state aid for the upcoming school year,” said Lisa Presley, superintendent of Tahlequah Public Schools. “When you hear $1.5 million, that equals 30 people in our district. If there are retirements, some teaching vacancies will have to be filled and others will not” [Tahlequah Daily Press].
Continue Reading »