On The Campaign Trail: Where Governor Candidates Stand On Education

Tuesday, September 11th 2018, 7:12 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck, Bonnie Campo

Oklahoma is only eight weeks away from the general election. News 9 is dedicated to informing voters as they head to the polls, that includes the race for governor.

This week, Democratic Candidate Drew Edmondson and Republican Candidate Kevin Stitt were asked about their views on the state’s schools and public education.

Edmondson said the $6,000 raise teachers just received should be just the beginning.

"Whether it can be done in the first year or two remains to be seen. What I've said is that pay raise should be the first step in a series of pay raises to get them up where we're competitive with other states,” said Edmondson.

Edmondson is pitching tax increases in gross production and tobacco, and the elimination of the capital gains tax deduction.

Kevin Stitt was endorsed by Tom Coburn. Stitt was was not in support of the current teacher pay raise because of the tax increase that came along with it. However, Stitt said he would not sign an executive order to repeal the raises if he were voted into office.

He said he is focused on the future.

Stitt said teachers need long-term funding solutions that are not dependent on the lottery or casinos. He added he would like to see the same opportunities given to rural districts as metro schools.

Stitt said while Governor Mary Fallin considered consolidating districts, he believes that is a decision that should be left up to each individual county.

Read Related Story: State Superintendent Says Executive Order On School Consolidation ‘Deeply Flawed’

“Consolidation is for a local school district, that's a local county decision. I am for efficiencies in administration, and giving more local communities more local control of how they spend their dollars,” said Stitt.

He added that Oklahoma teachers need to be paid the same as other surrounding states.

Oklahoma will gain about billion dollars in added revenue this year.

Stitt said while he awaits the results of that impact, his opponent Drew Edmondson is already calling for more taxes to fund education.