OKCPS Concerned Over Change In Funding

Wednesday, February 11th 2015, 11:37 pm
By: News 9

Some OKC school board members worry a new tax proposal could take money away from the city's public schools.

A council member said that number is in the millions, and the money will be diverted to downtown development.

It was a decision the Oklahoma City School board didn't learn about until after the city council had already voted on it.

“What we're talking about is diverting tens of millions of dollars away from schools, libraries and other taxing jurisdictions to meet of funding deficit of the city,” said OKC City Council member, Ed Shadid.

Councilman Ed Shadid said other council members want to fix the budget by creating two new tax increment financing districts or “TIFs” to divert tax dollar for another 25 years.

One of the proposed TIF's would be used to build a parking garage and a hotel next to the new convention center.

“This is a large amount of money that frankly our schools and our children cannot afford,” said Shadid.

On Jan. 27th, the Oklahoma City city council voted to create a committee to study the issue.

Shadid is the only city council member who voted against that committee, and it was the first time the school board had heard of the new plan.

“We're still looking at it, we are concerned about the impact it could have,” said OKCPS board member, Bob Hammack.

Hammack said members met with developers Tuesday night during a special meeting to get a better understanding of the new tax plan.

“The gentlemen last night, I think put a lot of our fears to rest,” said Hammack.

“I don't think there was any intention on anyone's part to be controversial or to not be fair, or anything,” said OKCPS Board chair, Lynne Hardin.

Hardin supports the tax plan and wants the board and the city council to work together.

“How can we work together so that it works for everyone, because at the end of the day, that's what we've got to do,” said Hardin.

The proposal will be voted on in the next 30 to 60 days.