OKLAHOMA CITY- Senate Democratic Leader John Sparks released the following statement on behalf of the Senate Democratic Caucus:
“Today the Senate Democratic Caucus welcomed thousands of educators, parents, students, and concerned citizens to the Capitol. We stand with them in their fight to properly fund public education in Oklahoma.
Paying our teachers a fair and competitive salary is a priority, but this movement is about more than just teacher pay, it’s about the chronic underfunding of public education in Oklahoma.
Over the last decade state funding for public education is down $180 million, marking a 28% cut. Since the 2013-14 school year, student enrollment has grown by 15,000 students but there are 700 fewer teachers in our public schools, with 20% of public school districts in Oklahoma moving to four day school weeks.
Our students deserve better. We need to restore funding for education which has been slashed by years of tax cuts. The legislature passed a revenue package last week, but more work needs to be done to provide sustainable revenues for education.
Last month the Senate passed SB 1086, bipartisan legislation to eliminate the capital gains tax loophole, which would bring in an additional $100 million in revenue for education. We urge the House to take action and pass the bill this week so we can make a serious investment in Oklahoma’s classrooms.”