Measure could derail Oklahoma school funding plan

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma Senate has adopted a resolution designed to counter an initiative petition seeking to compel lawmakers to significantly increase education spending.

The resolution calls for a statewide vote on amending the Constitution to bar any formula for distributing funds appropriated by the Legislature.

The Republican-sponsored bill was approved along party lines, with all 26 Republicans voting for it and all 22 Democrats opposing it.

Democrats say the plan will create confusion at the ballot box and called it an attempt to usurp the rights of citizens to petition for changes in their government.

Republicans say they are protecting the Legislature from being controlled by special interests.

The Helping Oklahoma Public Education initiative petition requires lawmakers to appropriate an extra $850 million for schools over a 3-year period. It is sponsored by Oklahoma Education Association and school support groups and is headed for a 2010 statewide vote.

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