State Question 744 Could Dramatically Impact Education in Oklahoma - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

State Question 744 Could Dramatically Impact Education in Oklahoma

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State Question 744 would require the state to fund common education at the average of our neighboring states. (AP Photo) State Question 744 would require the state to fund common education at the average of our neighboring states. (AP Photo)

By Ed Murray, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY – Many voters are already looking ahead to November when voters will decide the fate of 11 state questions. State Question 744 deals with education and could dramatically impact Oklahoma.

State Question 744 would require the state to fund common education at the average of our neighboring states. The group supporting the measure collected more than 200,000 signatures to get it on the ballot.

But many state leaders, Democrats and Republicans alike, are against this particular measure because of the mandate. A recent SoonerPoll shows 65 percent of Oklahomans like the idea.

The poll was straight forward asking "Do you support or oppose funding at least the per-pupil average of neighboring states?"

"We think it demonstrates the tremendous amount of grassroots support for this initiative," said Walton Robinson, Yes on 744.

"I think it's early yet to be making any conclusions. State questions aren't the same as voting for a person," said State Rep. Randy McDaniel.

McDaniel was part of a House study last summer that showed if 744 passes, the state will have to come up with another $850 million, which likely would mean every other agency except common education. would have a much smaller piece of budget by about 20 percent.

"We support education, and we need a great educational system for the state of Oklahoma," said McDaniel. "With that said, we had to actually come to the realization of what happens if this does pass."

Walton Robinson of Yes on 744 said state leaders are the problem.

"The legislature taking care of common education is what got us to 49th and we really believe our kids deserve better," said Robinson. "This is for the people to decide. It's time that they are able to have their voice heard and are able to stand up and say that we want our kids and schools to be a top priority."

"They're actually saying they want education to be the only priority," said McDaniel.

Pollster Bill Shapard expects his future polls on this question to change and get tighter as both sides ramp up their information campaigns and voters start looking at the impact on the state budget. Of course, Shapard said, traditionally, people don't make up their mind for good on state questions until they're reading the paragraphs in the voting booth.

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