Oklahoma is losing teachers at an alarming rate, with class sizes growing and programs dropped.
“If you want to improve this state, if you want to move it forward in what do you invest? Education is at the head of the list,” said OU President David Boren.
That's long been the message of OU President David Boren. He's leading the charge for a new one-cent statewide sales tax dedicated to education with about 60 percent going for teacher raises. The plan is to bypass lawmakers and go straight to the people with a ballot question next year.
Our exclusive new statewide News 9 Poll shows Oklahomans like the idea.
We asked nearly 800 likely voters if they "support or oppose a one-cent tax to fund education including raising teacher pay, improving reading, stopping tuition increases and expanding career training."
Fifty seven percent strongly or somewhat support the new penny tax while 33-percent strongly or somewhat oppose it.
News 9 pollster Bill Shapard said that support will be challenged before a possible vote next November.
Opponents are starting to point out a lack of long-range reform, budget accountability and predictions the tax will hurt the poor.
“It may be one of the highest sales tax rates in the entire country. Once people begin to hear some of those things, I think they’ll start to reconsider whether this is the right deal,” said Shepard.
Boren acknowledges the need for long-term reform, but with no end in sight to the teacher crisis, immediate action is needed.
“You know, right now, I think Oklahoma is at the verge of making some of the most important decisions that we’ve ever made,” said Boren.