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State Question 801: Voters to decide on public school funding measure

State Question 801, which was approved by the legislature this year, asks voters whether school districts should be allowed to use property tax revenue for operational costs, like teacher pay or textbooks. (File/KOKH)

State Question 801, one of five state questions on the Nov. 6 ballot, would remove restrictions on how school districts can use property tax funding.

Right now, districts can put that revenue in their building fund to cover things like building maintenance, repairs, and furniture. If SQ 801 is approved, that money could also be put towards operating expenses, like teacher pay raises or classroom supplies.

"In the last week, we’ve actually started getting more questions about State Question 801," said Dr. Rick Cobb, superintendent of Mid-Del Public Schools. "When I’m asked directly, would this help Mid-Del Public Schools? My answer is no."

The measure is meant to give Oklahoma school districts more flexibility, but Dr. Cobb said it wouldn't have much of an impact in his district.

"This doesn’t give us any more money, and in our case it doesn’t really give us any more flexibility since what we get gets spent every year, and then some," said Dr. Cobb.

Whether or not voters approve SQ 801, Cobb is grateful it's created more conversation about school funding.

"I don’t think there’s ever such a thing as too much transparency or too much engagement from the public," he said.

SQ 801 requires a simple majority of voters to be approved.

There are fur other Oklahoma state questions:

  • State Question 793 -- a citizen-initiated referendum to allow optometrists and opticians to operate in retail establishments
  • State Question 794 -- expanding the constitutional rights of crime victims, known as "Marcy’s Law"
  • State Question 798 -- providing for the election of Governor and Lieutenant Governor on a joint ticket starting in 2026
  • State Question 800 -- creating a new budget reserve fund, the Oklahoma Vision Fund, to receive a portion of gross production tax revenue

You can find more information about voting here.

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