2019 Priority: Increase PK-12 state aid funding to restore school staffing and programs

The revenue measures passed in April 2018 as HB1010xx were a historic win for educators, funding an average $6,100 teacher salary increase. However, after accounting for the funds that must be dedicated to this pay increase, state aid to schools remains $165 million less than FY 2009, even as enrollment has grown by over 50,000 students.

Without a substantial increase in state aid, schools will be unable to reduce class sizes, hire additional school counselors, bring back art and music classes, or make other investments needed to revitalize our schools.

Oklahoma educators are being asked to do more with less, and until these conditions are improved, schools will continue to struggle to attract and retain well-trained teachers.

The Solution

Restoring Pre-K through 12th grade state aid funding is critical for reaching the outcomes we hope for our children and ensuring long-term prosperity for our state. Oklahoma needs a plan to restore PK-12 state aid funding that is backed by identified recurring revenue.

This should include prioritizing growth revenue for education and guarding against giving away revenue with any new tax cuts or tax breaks. Lawmakers should resist pressure to reverse any of the hard-won revenue measures passed in recent years.

What You Can Do

Contact your state Representative and Senator and urge them to restore state aid funding to our schools. Tell them your story to remind them that without this funding, our schools cannot reduce class sizes, bring back art and music instruction, or attract the teachers we need.

You can look up your state Senator and Representative here. You can also call the House switchboard at 405-521-2711, and the Senate switchboard at 405-524-0126.

To join the grassroots coalition of Oklahomans working to connect Oklahoma values with better budget and tax priorities, visit www.togetherok.org. To receive SMS advocacy alerts on important budget issues, text OKBUDGET to 51555.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Oklahoma Policy Institute (OK Policy) is a non-partisan independent policy think-tank. OK Policy promotes adequate, fair, and fiscally responsible funding of public services and expanded opportunity for all Oklahomans by providing timely and credible information, analysis, and ideas.

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