Fletcher students take education funding concerns to the top

Fletcher_Oklahoma is near the very bottom on funding education.  According to a new report, the state is ranked 47th, and it seems as if the funding cuts keep getting deeper.  State Superintendent Sandy Garret says that despite the cost of living, Oklahoma continues to invest less in its students than any other state in the south.

But, a group of freshman Fletcher government students wanted to let legislators know that any cut to funding their education is bad.  They met with several legislators at the capitol, and had plenty to say.  Chesney Overton was straightforward with her opinion, and she spoke for the entire class on Resolution 59.  "I don't like it," she says.  The resolution proposes a cut on ad valorem taxes - property taxes.

One of the only ways small, rural communities can gain revenue is with property taxes, since most have only residential living property.  They keep cutting. They keep cutting," says Frederick Superintendent Kathryn Turner. "Eventually you start cutting in the very heart of education. SJR 59 will just harm our schools, and we will have to educate on a shoe string."  "We dont' have stuff like that - big corporations - around to bring in more tax money, so ad valorem is really important," says student Lauren Baldwin.

The Fletcher students felt it was very important to bring their protest of the resolution to their legislator's attention.  Lauren feels their visit made an impact.  "It's harder to say no," she says.  "We put a face on the tax."  "Whenever I did ask questions, they weren't ready for the answers. I just think they need to think out the bill a little bit more," says Chesney.

If Resolution 59 is approved, it will lower the amount of money to schools from 5% to 3%.  School funding is an ongoing subject at the capitol.  Count on 7News to let you know what they decide.