More than 25,000 teachers rallied at the Oklahoma State Capitol yesterday, sending a clear message to our legislators: Education is an investment that they ignore (and under-fund) at the peril of our state's future. Tomorrow, the Senate Appropriations Committee will hear the education bill, House Bill 2642, which includes provisions that will provide immediate funding directly to districts.
According to an Oklahoma Education Association email and the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration:
- Students are just as important as roads and bridges – our schools should have the same funding priority as ODOT’s ROADS Fund. CCOSA states that the bill will enable the education and transportation departs to split $60 million annual in new revenue the first three years the law is in effect, provided the state experiences at least 1 percent growth in general revenues.
- After the first three years, schools will receive $60 million, provided the state experiences 1 percent growth in general revenues the previous year.
- Additionally, beginning three years from now, the school year will increase by one day for ten years.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will not lose any money as a result of the increase in education funding and Oklahomans will not have to pay for either increase out of their pockets, as the funding is tied to general revenue growths.
Currently, Oklahoma schools are operating on $200 million les today than they were at this time in 2009 — but with 40,000 more students. HB 2642 will also ensure that the extra dollars will go directly to school districts, where local school boards will decide the best way to use the funds.
What you can do to help
Contact all members of the Senate Appropriations Committee today and ask them to vote yes on HB 2642. Contact your friends and family, people you know in your social media accounts and ask them all to contact the committee members.
I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma student working on my Master's of Education in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an concentration in English Education, and a NBPTS candidate. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify my students' voices and choices.