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The Morning Bell: Most voters support oil tax for teacher pay

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Gov. Mary Fallin speaking to superintendents on Wednesday. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
Gov. Mary Fallin speaking to superintendents on Wednesday. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

More than 90 percent of likely voters rank the performance of the Oklahoma Legislature’s approach to education funding as only fair or poor, and 85 percent believe teacher pay is too low.

Those are some of the results from a new survey commissioned by the Oklahoma Education Association. The same poll showed the majority of Oklahomans have a negative view of the state Legislature, which I referenced in this story about Gov. Mary Fallin's threat to veto another budget that lacks a teacher pay increase. 

“Voters understand this legislature has failed miserably in its duty to provide the necessary investments in education to make Oklahoma the state it should be,” OEA president Alicia Priest said. “What is clear to me is voters understand who is responsible for the education funding crisis and subsequent teacher shortage, and they want better for Oklahoma’s school children.”

When given the choice of increasing some taxes or making significant cuts to other areas of state government to fund education, a majority of voters want lawmakers to increase taxes, according to the OEA-commissioned poll. Seventy percent of voters said they would support a recently filed initiative petition to increase gross production tax from 2 percent to 7 percent on all oil and gas wells to fund an average $5,000 teacher pay raise.

You can read the entire poll here

--Speaking of that gross production tax petition, legal challenges were filed Wednesday against it. The Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association filed two challenges to State Question 795 with the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Fallin says she would veto budget again over teacher pay

Gov. Mary Fallin said she would veto another proposed budget that doesn't include a pay raise for teachers, something she called a top priority headed into her final year in office.

Following an address to dozens of school superintendents on Wednesday, in which she talked about the need for a teacher pay raise, Fallin was asked by a reporter if she would veto a budget that did not include a salary increase for educators.

"In the second special session? Yeah, I would," Fallin said.

Language program launches for Cherokee charter graduates

The Cherokee Nation recently launched a pilot program to ensure students who learned to speak Cherokee at the tribe’s Cherokee Immersion Charter School continue to use the language as they enter high school, the Cherokee Nation Community & Cultural Outreach office announced Wednesday.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Cherokee Nation Businesses CEO Shawn Slaton signed a memorandum of understanding to create the program, called the 14th Generation Master Apprentice Program, during a ceremony at the tribe’s Cherokee Immersion Charter School in Tahlequah on Wednesday.

“CNB’s monetary commitment to the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program will further advance the preservation and usage of the Cherokee language, as graduates of the program are placed in supervised teaching roles,” Baker said. “That means language lessons can be utilized at Sequoyah High School as well as in community settings. Creating Cherokee speakers, and in turn letting them pass along what they have learned, will help keep the language flourishing for generations to come.”

Students selected for U.S. Senate Youth Program

Two Oklahoma high school students have been named this year’s state delegates to the 56th annual U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP), which brings together two student leaders from every state and Washington D.C. for a week-long trip to the nation’s capital.

Ravi Patel from Southmoore High School in Moore and J. Michael Bond from Mount Saint Mary Catholic High School in Oklahoma City will join 100 other delegates from around the country March 3-10 in Washington D.C.

Chamber announces Oklahoma Achieves

The State Chamber’s education initiative has changed its name to Oklahoma Achieves. Previously known as the Oklahoma Educated Workforce Initiative (OEWI), the chamber said the name underscores the organization’s commitment to seeing Oklahoma students excel in the classroom and ultimately, the workforce.

“In three years, our organization has gained the backing from the business community and we needed a name that more clearly states our mission,” said Oklahoma Achieves Executive Director, Jennifer Monies. “We chose Oklahoma Achieves because it is proactive and forward-thinking. Ultimately, we want Oklahoma students to be able to achieve their greatest potential.”

That does it for today's Morning Bell. Have a great Thursday!


Related Photos
Gov. Mary Fallin said she would veto another proposed budget that doesn't include a pay raise for teachers, something she views as a top priority headed into her final year in office. Speaking to dozens of superintendents from across the state on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, Fallin acknowledged the state budget situation has been especially tough for public schools. “We have to stop kicking the can down the road. We also have to think about what kind of state we want to be,” Fallin said during Wednesday's Superintendents' Advisory Council, hosted by the Oklahoma Public Schools Resources Center.
“In my heart I'm concerned about our brand and the image of our state. It's hard for me to sell the state of Oklahoma when we have constant articles about budget shortfalls, schools on four day weeks and ... emergency certified teachers.”Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Gov. Mary Fallin said she would veto another proposed budget that doesn't include a pay raise for teachers, something she views as a top priority headed into her final year in office. Speaking to dozens of superintendents from across the state on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, Fallin acknowledged the...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-2c545eee4e4bc2d31856df6986a5a7e2.jpg" alt="Photo - Gov. Mary Fallin said she would veto another proposed budget that doesn't include a pay raise for teachers, something she views as a top priority headed into her final year in office. Speaking to dozens of superintendents from across the state on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, Fallin acknowledged the state budget situation has been especially tough for public schools. “We have to stop kicking the can down the road. We also have to think about what kind of state we want to be,” Fallin said during Wednesday's Superintendents' Advisory Council, hosted by the Oklahoma Public Schools Resources Center. “In my heart I'm concerned about our brand and the image of our state. It's hard for me to sell the state of Oklahoma when we have constant articles about budget shortfalls, schools on four day weeks and ... emergency certified teachers.”Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman" title="Gov. Mary Fallin said she would veto another proposed budget that doesn't include a pay raise for teachers, something she views as a top priority headed into her final year in office. Speaking to dozens of superintendents from across the state on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, Fallin acknowledged the state budget situation has been especially tough for public schools. “We have to stop kicking the can down the road. We also have to think about what kind of state we want to be,” Fallin said during Wednesday's Superintendents' Advisory Council, hosted by the Oklahoma Public Schools Resources Center. “In my heart I'm concerned about our brand and the image of our state. It's hard for me to sell the state of Oklahoma when we have constant articles about budget shortfalls, schools on four day weeks and ... emergency certified teachers.”Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Gov. Mary Fallin said she would veto another proposed budget that doesn't include a pay raise for teachers, something she views as a top priority headed into her final year in office. Speaking to dozens of superintendents from across the state on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, Fallin acknowledged the state budget situation has been especially tough for public schools. “We have to stop kicking the can down the road. We also have to think about what kind of state we want to be,” Fallin said during Wednesday's Superintendents' Advisory Council, hosted by the Oklahoma Public Schools Resources Center. “In my heart I'm concerned about our brand and the image of our state. It's hard for me to sell the state of Oklahoma when we have constant articles about budget shortfalls, schools on four day weeks and ... emergency certified teachers.”Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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