Public School Finance: Prospectus Paper

737 Words Oct 17th, 1999 3 Pages
Public School Finance: Prospectus Paper

Oklahoma utility companies are currently protesting the amount of taxes that they must pay. The dispute came about because of the difference between what utility companies and other commercial properties and other entities such as railroads and airlines must pay. The utility companies originally protested all of the taxes that they had to pay. They are now protesting the percentage of taxes that they must pay above what the commercial properties pay. The money is currently going into escrow accounts until a decision over the taxes has been made. According to Oklahoma Tax Commission estimates, the protests could affect more than $63 million in funding for schools and counties across the state.
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The group of Oklahoma superintendents will meet with Glen Johnson ,Speaker of the House, on Monday, December 5, 1995. The superintendents feel that it would be to their advantage to have there concerns heard by the House even though the
State Equity board has the final say. The State Equity Board is comprised of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Superintendent of Schools, State
Treasurer, the State Auditor, and the State Secretary of Agricultural. In order to get a measure passed by the State Equity Board, a measure must receive four of the 7 votes. Dale Wells, State Representative for Oklahoma, feels like the decision will end up on the legislature in February and that it will be one of the first items discussed.

It is advantageous to the schools to have this matter settled as quickly as possible. Some school districts who rely on the taxes from local utilities for the majority of their funding are concerned as to whether they can keep their school going past February of 1995 without the revenue derived from utility taxes. In most districts, money from local utility companies accounts for as least 40% of their fixed expenses. Schools who have to pay off bonds rely heavily on the income gained from utility companies. If the matter is not settled quickly, our schools could be in serious trouble. Court ordered judgements could result against schools and counties which cannot pay their bills. Funding for

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