Voters to Decide Education Funding with SQ 744 - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Voters to Decide Education Funding with SQ 744

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OKLAHOMA--Big elections are just around the corner and this year Oklahoma voters have some big decisions to make.

Meredith Saldana has more on state question 744.

Its one of the most talked about things on the Oklahoma ballot and its not a candidate race.   

State question 744, dealing with education funding, has been a media blitz and a divisive political issue.

"If we don't do something for education when are we going to do it and how are we going to do it, those are proposals opponents should come forward with," said Darryl Roberts, Democratic candidate for state senate in district 14.

The fact is just dumping a pot of money into education doesn't fix anything," said Frank Simpson, Roberts Republican opponent in district 14.

Here are the facts: 744 would require Oklahoma to fund education per student at the levels of surrounding states.

Currently Oklahoma spends over fifteen hundred dollars less on education per student than states like Arkansas and Kansas.

Supporters say its high time Oklahoma made education more of a priority.

"We fell off on our funding and we need to pick it back up and become competitive with the rest of the states in the region," said Ardmore High School teacher Johncy Martin. \

"The legislature has shown time and again that it just will not fund education adequately," said Walton Robinson, Communications Director for the Yes on 744 campaign, "and so the people can now stand up and vote yes on 744 and set the priorities for the politicians."

But putting in new funding does not come without cutbacks and opponents warn the new funding could have drastic impacts on the state budget.

"All this state question asks us to do is cut a blank check. It doesn't allow us to make any changes in the state's educational system," said Jeff Wilson, Campaign Manager for the One Oklahoma Coalition.

The non partisan Oklahoma Policy Institute estimates that passage of 744 would cost the state 1.7 billion dollars over three years.

Supporters say the funding can come from cutting wasteful spending, but opponents argue there's not enough to pay for the high price tag.

I don't think it's specific enough, I don't think it says where the money will come from. I don't think it gives enough details as to how the money should be spent," said Ardmore High School English teacher Patty Lee.

Many opponents feel increasing spending alone will not improve the state's education but supporters argue the money is needed.

Even with all the opinions, its voters who will decide the state question on November 2nd.

Meredith Saldana, KTEN News   

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