A handful of Oklahoma tribes have pledged their support for a ballot measure that would require the state to fund common education based on the regional average.
In a release sent out today by the Yes on 744 camp, the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma, Jewish Federation of Oklahoma City, Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Sac and Fox Nation were among the groups supporting the state question.
More than a dozen and educated related associations are also supporting the state question that requires the state to spend the same as other states in their per pupil expenditure. Only two states, Idaho and Utah spend less on education, per student, according to a report from National Center for Education Statistics. The regional average for per-pupil spending in the six states that surround Oklahoma is $9,147. In the 2008 school year, Oklahoma spent $7,683, according to figures from the National Center for Education Statistics.
“We are pleased that so many different groups from around the state of Oklahoma have decided to support this important initiative to help Oklahoma’s kids and schools,” said Michael Kolenc, campaign manager for the YES on 744 coalition. “This coalition represents Oklahomans from all walks of life who believe Oklahoma’s children deserve good, high quality schools. ”
Opponents of the question, which includes the One Oklahoma Coalition, say the question gives budget controls to other states and would break the state’s bank. The Oklahoma Policy Institute, an independent think tank, estimates that increasing funding to education would cost more than a $1 billion over the three years the increased funding plan is phased in. Three economists this week said passage of the state question could mean other state services are cut back.
The One Oklahoma Coalition includes businesses, chambers of commerce in Oklahoma and Tulsa. The president of The State Chamber, Fred Morgan, is the chairman of the committee opposing the ballot measure.
SQ 744 is one of 11 questions that will be on the ballot in November.
Here’s the total list of supporters in the release today: