On November 6th, voters will take to the polls to vote on gubernatorial candidates and a variety of state questions. Educators across the state are locked in debate about State Question 801.
The new measure would allow school districts to use certain property taxes for expenses that they previously were not allowed to. These expenses include teacher salaries, which Oklahoma ranks last in nationally.
State Question 801 may seem like the be-all end-all solution after the statewide teacher walkout earlier this year, but former educators are warning that this proposition may not be all that it seems.
“I think people need to know because your regular Oklahoman working person who may not understand everything there is to know about school budgets, which that is me by the way. Because I was a school teacher, I didn’t understand about the budgets and I don’t want them to be led that this is a fix. It’s being sold as something that helps out or solves a problem and it just won’t solve one problem,” says J.J. Dossett, State Senator for District 34.
The passage of this state question could put teacher salaries in jeopardy if school districts don’t use the new rules wisely.
“Ideally, best case scenario, schools don’t do anything different because they need that money where it is. All of the bond money that they are able to collect out of their local communities, they need that money to do exactly what it’s doing. They don’t need it to pay teachers, we don’t need to tie teacher salaries to a yearly bond election. That’s dangerous and reckless, but they would have that option if this passes,” says Dossett.
Voters will decide on State Question 801 on November 6th.
OU Nightly will have more on the support for this state question later in the week. Polls will be open from 7am-7pm on Election Day.