In The Know: Oklahoma teacher pay plan absent at Capitol deadline

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Today In The News

Oklahoma teacher pay plan absent at Capitol deadline: The Oklahoma Legislature could head home for the weekend without advancing a bill to increase teacher salaries. Despite an important Thursday deadline, the Oklahoma Senate did not schedule a hearing on House Bill 1114, which would incrementally raise the minimum teacher salary schedule by $6,000 over three years. The Senate’s teacher pay plan that would increase salaries by 4 percent languished in a House committee without a hearing. There’s still time, though. House and Senate leadership can introduce legislation at any time, meaning that lawmakers can adopt a teacher pay plan if an agreement is reached [NewsOK].

Oklahoma Struggles to Pay for Schools After Slashing Taxes: Four years ago, Oklahoma’s oil patch was booming, unemployment was falling and state lawmakers were debating what to do with $200 million in surplus revenue. Republicans who control state government successfully pushed to reduce the state’s top income tax rate, slash the oil and gas production tax rate from 7 percent to 2 percent and give more tax incentives to industry. But the boom ended and the money dried up. Now the once-unwavering confidence in the wisdom of lower taxes has given way to a growing panic over how to pay for basic services such as schools, health care and public safety [Associated Press]. Oklahoma’s per pupil funding of the state aid formula for public schools has fallen 26.9 percent after inflation between FY 2008 and FY 2017. These continue to be the deepest cuts in the nation, and Oklahoma’s lead is growing [OK Policy].

Expanding shortfall in state tax revenues creating uncertainty for schools, state superintendent says: State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said a shortfall in one of the main state revenue sources for public schools will easily top $100 million before the end of June — and the impact of that loss is widely misunderstood. Hofmeister addressed the topic among others at Public Radio Tulsa’s “Give and Take” on education event, held Thursday evening at the Central Library. “Schools are feeling like they’re in free fall right now,” Hofmeister said. “Just for education, we have lost $82 million since February, and that will exceed $100 million by June.” [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma state Sen. Kyle Loveless resigns amid criminal investigation: Facing new accusations that he embezzled his own campaign funds, state Sen. Kyle Loveless resigned Thursday and admitted he made mistakes. The conservative Oklahoma City Republican stepped down two days after his defense attorney, Mack Martin, met with Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater about the accusations [NewsOK].

Statement: HB 1913 creates unnecessary, abusive loans; Gov. Fallin should veto: Oklahoma Policy Institute released the following statement in response to the Legislature’s passage of HB 1913: It is very disappointing that the Legislature has approved HB 1913. This bill was ​drafted ​and lobbied aggressively by the payday loan industry​. By creating another predatory, high-cost loan product, this bill ​will ​put more ​Oklahomans​ in deep​ financial distress [OK Policy].

STANDCast #5 – Oklahoma SOS Coalition: This episode is a little different than the ones we’ve done in the past. We were joined in the studio (our conference room) by a few members of the newly-formed Save Our State Coalition. The coalition of over 20 organizations came together to lay out a realistic budget blueprint to put Oklahoma on a sustainable path to prosperity. We discuss how the budget cuts are impacting families and children all across the state and the political reality we face in trying to fix our budget hole [STANDCast]. Learn more about Save Our State here.

Sky isn’t falling, but it’s raining awfully hard: My assistant superintendent recently drove an hour-and-a half-to a teacher job fair at East Central University. It was a nearly complete waste of time and resources. This isn’t atypical of such job fairs these days. Once full of applicants and hiring districts, these events are generally no longer worth our investment [Santa Fe South Schools Superintendent Chris Brewster / NewsOK].

Ten Commandments bill halted in Oklahoma Senate: A bill that could have allowed the Ten Commandments on government property was quietly pulled from consideration Thursday, severely hurting its chances to become law. House Bill 2177 was on the Senate agenda, but Floor Leader Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, announced that it wouldn’t be heard before moving on to other business. House bills must be heard in the Senate by the end of business Thursday [NewsOK].

Bill giving sheriff control of Tulsa Jail commissary passes Senate: The state Senate on Thursday passed a bill that could let the sheriff take over operation of the Tulsa Jail commissary. House Bill 2230 passed by a vote of 27-12 and heads to the governor. The measure would give control of the Tulsa Jail’s commissary to Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado. Mike Spencer, who is blind, has operated the jail commissary for five years, selling food, clothing and other items to inmates [Tulsa World].

Legislator proposes using seized assets from Oklahoma to fund Mexico border wall: A Republican legislator from Cleveland County wants to use money from civil asset forfeiture seizures in Oklahoma to help pay for President Donald Trump’s planned border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. State Rep. Bobby Cleveland announced Thursday that he plans to write an amendment diverting money from the seizures to help pay for construction of the wall, according to a news release from the Oklahoma House of Representatives [Tulsa World].

Oklahoma shouldn’t use debt to finance its failure to pay for fundamental state services: The state is once again looking to deal with its failure to adequately fund fundamental public services by borrowing money. While the $300 million transportation bond issue being considered by legislative leaders might technically fit within the state’s balanced budget rules, the distinction between it and deficit spending strikes us as modest. The state can’t pay for its road-building needs, so it’s planning to ask future taxpayers to pick up the cost. That certainly feels like Washington-style financing to us [Editorial Writers / Tulsa World].

Locust Grove Schools Uses Four-Day Week To Recruit Teachers: Oklahoma school districts consider a four-day week and the decision might come down to savings. But, one district says there are other benefits. Locust Grove made the switch two years ago. And they didn’t do it for the money. Third-graders at Locust Grove go to school four days a week, from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. They’re off on Mondays [NewsOn6].

State should heed death penalty advice: For at least a half-century, the Oklahoma Standard was unequivocally tough on crime. Lock ‘em up, throw away the key. Three strikes, you’re out. The inmate population skyrocketed. So did the number of executions: 112 between 1990 and 2015, nearly 30 percent more than in the state’s first 83 years. Which makes this week’s report from the Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission all the more remarkable [Arnold Hamilton / Journal Record].

Tulsa Community Leaders Launch Effort To Reform Immigration Laws: Several of Tulsa’s community leaders announced the launch of an Oklahoma effort to reform immigration laws. They’ve started the Oklahoma coalition of the national program. is a bipartisan effort to create a more welcoming immigration policy while still securing borders [NewsOn6].

Oklahoma organization launches #TheMuslimNextDoor campaign to ‘challenge Islamophobia’: If you’re a Thunder fan, a University of Oklahoma student or simply a family proud of this as your home state, you have at least one thing in common with a neighboring American Muslim – that is the message behind a campaign recently launched by a local organization [KFOR].

Quote of the Day

“We have to come together with our partners, like this wonderful group of energy partners that has come together with us and said, ‘we set the rate too low. We have to look forward to bringing in new recurring dollars, and there is nothing more important to fund besides those core services than our future. And our future is our children.’”

– House Appropriations and Budget Chair Leslie Osborn (R-Mustang), on the Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance’s suggested gross production tax increase (Source)

Number of the Day


Effective state corporate income tax rate paid by Devon Energy in from 2008-2015. Over that period, the company made $21.76 billion in profits but paid only $71 million in corporate income taxes, more than $1.2 billion less than if the company paid Oklahoma’s official corporate income tax rate of 6% 

Source: Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

What if the problem of poverty is that it’s profitable to other people? What if the dominant discourse on poverty is just wrong? What if the problem isn’t that poor people have bad morals – that they’re lazy and impulsive and irresponsible and have no family values – or that they lack the skills and smarts to fit in with our shiny 21st-century economy? What if the problem is that poverty is profitable? These are the questions at the heart of Evicted, Matthew Desmond’s extraordinary ethnographic study of tenants in low-income housing in the deindustrialised middle-sized city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You might not think that there is a lot of money to be extracted from a dilapidated trailer park or a black neighbourhood of “sagging duplexes, fading murals, 24-hour daycares”. But you would be wrong [The Guardian].

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Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

2 thoughts on “In The Know: Oklahoma teacher pay plan absent at Capitol deadline

  1. State Rep Bobby Cleveland your a dumbass. If money is seized in Okla why not spend it here instead of sending it out of state?

  2. Turn our state blue and throw out all of these Republicans including Mary Fallen (sp accurate) who have destroyed our state. We can no longer function with these idiots and that includes White House republicans. They have done absolutely nothing to prosper our state.

    9104 Oak Cliff Drive
    Midwest City, OK 73130

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