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EDlection 2018: Oklahomans Strike Down Measure to Expand How Property Taxes Can Fund Schools

By Kate Stringer | November 7, 2018

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EDlection2018: This is one of several dozen races we’ve analyzed for the 2018 midterms that could go on to influence state or federal education policy. Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox; sign up for The 74 Newsletter.

Oklahomans voted down a measure that sought to change how property taxes could be spent on education, according to the New York Times with all precincts reporting. The measure was barely struck down, with a margin of 9,000 votes.

State Question 801 would have altered the state constitution, which currently says that property taxes can only be used to fund building maintenance in schools. But some Oklahomans wanted schools to be able to use these funds on expenses like classroom supplies or teacher salaries.

Supporters of the measure said it provided greater flexibility for schools with tight budgets without raising taxes. “It will give districts the ability to be more flexible with their local dollars if they choose to do so,” said Jennifer Monies, executive director of Oklahoma Achieve, according to The Oklahoman.

But opponents, including the Oklahoma State School Boards Association and the state teachers union, said it ignored the real problem of the state underfunding education.

“While we love flexibility, this is not going to be a solution to help schools have more money,” said OSSBA Executive Director Shawn Hime, according to KFOR.

Oklahoma’s nine days of teacher walkouts this spring ignited a fierce discussion around the need for increased education funding. Several voters at the polls said education was a motivating factor for how they voted, according to reporting from The Oklahoman.

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A 2018 EDlection Cheat Sheet: Recapping the 70 Candidates, Races & Winners That Matter Most for American Education Policy

EDlection2018: This is one of several dozen races we’ve analyzed for the 2018 midterms that could go on to influence state or federal education policy. Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox; sign up for The 74 Newsletter.

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