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Today In The News
State may face another tax cut trigger: Oklahoma’s income tax rate appears poised to decline again, further reducing state revenue at a time when lawmakers are finding it hard to fund core state services. A bill that would have delayed the next incremental drop in the income tax rate didn’t advance in the recently concluded legislative session. Sufficient state revenue growth would trigger a rate decrease from 5 percent to 4.85 percent as soon as Jan. 1, 2018 [NewsOK]. The cost of state income tax cuts since the mid-2000s has grown to over $1 billion annually [OK Policy].
With Exams Gone, Uncertainty over School Report Cards Grows: The elimination of end-of-course tests that Oklahoma public school students take each year will throw more uncertainty into the state’s efforts to develop a new system of measuring school performance. The state’s much-criticized A through F report card system relies on students’ scores from standardized end-of-instruction exams, which were eliminated when the governor signed into law House Bill 3218 on Monday. The law is intended to preserve time in the classroom for learning, reduce what many educators say is a culture of over-testing and potentially save the state millions of dollars [Oklahoma Watch].
State Board of Education to tackle $38.2 million in school funding reductions in special meeting Friday: The Oklahoma State Board of Education is set to meet in a special session Friday to slash $38.2 million from a catch-all budget that funds everything from alternative education and remedial student services statewide to the Teachers Retirement System and Ag in the Classroom. Appropriations for the support of public school activities totaled $130.2 million at the beginning of the 2015-16 academic year, but the state board has to reduce that total to just under $92 million for 2016-17. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said the task is a particularly unpleasant and daunting one [Tulsa World].
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