Local educators weigh in on State Question 801

Posted at 5:43 PM, Oct 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-10 09:56:16-04

TULSA -- Local educators are weighing in on State Question 801, which Governor Mary Fallin put on the November general election ballot over the summer.

SQ 801 allows schools to use certain voter-approved property taxes to fund district operation, like teacher raises. Right now, the state constitution only allows schools to use this money for building or repair costs.

"It doesn’t raise any money, it just changes how we are able to use what we already have," said Shawna Mott-Wright, the Vice President of Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association, or TCTA.

Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest says passing SQ 801 would be asking schools to start choosing between paying their teachers, and repairing broken buildings.

"Tulsa Public Schools, if we were to use that one for something else, we have a better chance of surviving, than say Gotebo," said Mott-Wright.

We reached out to several Green Country school districts for reaction on the legislation.

A representative from Jenks Public Schools says SQ 801 wouldn't have an impact on their district if it passes, because their building fund is already at capacity from the bonds they pass every year.

Muskogee Superintendent Dr. Jarod Mendenhall says it seems like legislators are trying to provide more flexibility, but believes it will force local districts to rely more on locally generated tax dollars.

"It’s just using it for something else, it’s like the magician with the cups you know? Is it here? Is it here? It’s not new money," said Mott-Wright.

We reached out to Representative Stephanie Bice who pushed for SQ 801, but we haven't heard back.

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