NORMAN — Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, recently visited area schools to discuss a number of issues with administrators, including education funding. The senator is a supporter of increasing funding for Oklahoma schools and has been working to build a consensus on the issue among freshmen in the state legislature.
“If our schools aren’t receiving adequate funding, it becomes exponentially more challenging for them to provide students with a quality education,” Standridge said. “I applaud our educators for their efforts to prepare our students for success in spite of the revenue losses we’ve seen beginning with the 2008 recession. Restoring education funding to pre-recession levels is an important first step to giving our educators the tools they need to prepare our students to compete in the global economy.”
Standridge is co-author of a proposal that would enable the legislature to dramatically increase education funding this year. Senate Bill 585 would modestly decrease the top income tax rate, but would also eliminate 30 special-interest tax breaks while preserving most tax credits for low-income Oklahomans and seniors.
Standridge believes, the end result would save Oklahoma taxpayers an average of $153 a year, while enabling an education funding increase of $75-$100 million this year. By contrast, the governor’s budget proposal provides for an increase of just $13.5 million in education funding for the coming fiscal year.
“We have to get more dollars into Oklahoma classrooms and we have to adequately fund the reforms made by the Legislature in recent years,” Standridge said. “This proposal gets us moving in the right direction. I’ll continue working with my colleagues to build consensus on school funding and ensure the issue is the top priority it should be as we move forward.”
SB 585 was approved by the full Senate this week and will soon be considered by the House of Representatives.