Discussing The Pros & Cons Of State Question 801

Wednesday, October 24th 2018, 3:38 am
By: Ashley Izbicki

In less than two weeks, voters will decide a state question that could give schools more flexibility when it comes to spending property tax money.

Supporters say State Question 801 will give schools more control over teacher pay raises.

This question would give school districts more spending options, but critics argue it wouldn't really benefit schools.

Right now, each school district has a designated 'building fund'.  The money that goes into that fund comes from local property taxes.  Generally, that money pays for capital expenses, like repairs, maintenance, and new construction.

Money can also be used for things like software, band uniforms, and other one-time expenses.

State Question 801 would give districts the freedom to use those funds for operational costs, like teacher salaries.  801 will not give school districts any additional funds.

Supporters say it could help them shift resources to address more urgent needs, but critics point out, school districts are already spending all the money in their building funds.

"On paper it gives more flexibility to the school, what we should be talking about is how we're gonna increase revenue for schools, because we're already, we're taking an underfunded fund and now giving flexibility for it, moving it to another underfunded account," said Shawn Hime with the Oklahoma State School Board Association.

The School Boards Association has not taken a position on State Question 801, saying the biggest concern is that voters understand schools will not get extra money if it's approved.

8/2/2018 Related Story: School Funding State Question To Go Before Voters In November