KGOU

Boren-Led Group Delivers Thousands Of Signatures Supporting Education Sales Tax

Apr 22, 2016

Oklahoma voters will decide whether or not raise sales taxes by a penny to fund education this fall.

State Question 779 will raise about $615 million for $5,000 teacher pay raises, among other education initiatives. University of Oklahoma president David Boren has been leading the charge for the penny sales tax. The grassroots effort Oklahoma’s Children – Our Future had 90 days to get 124,000 petition signatures to get the question on the November ballot. They delivered 300,000 to Secretary of State Chris Benge’s office Thursday – more than a month before the deadline.

“That’s the largest number of people in state history who have ever signed an initiative petition,” Boren said.

Just under 70 percent of the money would go to common education, 19 percent would go to public colleges and universities, and 8 percent would go to the State Department of Education. The rest would be allotted to the CareerTech programs.

“Our state is in the midst of an education funding crisis, and our children are the ones that pay the ultimate price with larger classes and fewer quality teachers,” Wiley Post Elementary music teacher Tony Flores said in a statement. “I’ve seen too many colleagues leave the classroom for better pay and working conditions and the ones who do stay are often forced to take second and third jobs just to make ends meet for their family. It doesn’t have to be this way.” 

But the conservative think tank OCPA Impact says there are other solutions besides raising the sales tax to 9.5 percent – which would be one of the highest in the nation.

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