Monday, September 15, 2008

HOPE in the Norman Transcript

An editorial from the Norman Transcript about HOPE.

Educators will take case directly to the people

Educators, spearheaded by the Oklahoma Education Association, will begin circulating a petition next week asking for a statewide vote requiring legislators to fund schools at the regional average. The state currently funds pupils at about $6,900 per year when the regionalaverage is said to be about $8,300.

Some lawmakers said the drive would require up to 850 million additional dollars for education each year. They're not just pulling that figure out of thin air. An independent study commissioned for the legislature more than three years ago said the state needed to pump more than $800 million into the formula to help districts meet state and federal student performance expectations.

At the time, the Augenblick, Palaich and Associates report said Oklahoma's "formula" funding doesn't reflect the level of resources needed tofully implement standards-based reform."

Petitioners may find some comfort in the study to buttress their position. There were questions as to why the study itself wasn't quickly released.

But the drive may fall victim to timing. A roads versus education showdown is developing and taxpayers are in a lean mood these days. If the drive succeeds in gathering nearly 140,000 signatures over the next 90 days, organizers are asking that it be on the ballot in 2010. Perhaps,by then, the timing will be better.

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