Group pushing education sales tax to launch signature drive

University of Oklahoma President David Boren is among those kicking off the effort to push for a one percent sales tax for education. Photo by Sue Ogrocki, AP.

OKLAHOMA CITY — A group pushing for a public vote on a one percent sales tax for education in Oklahoma is launching its signature gathering effort to put the question on the ballot in November.

University of Oklahoma President David Boren and Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Shawn Sheehan are among those helping kick off the effort Tuesday during a news conference in Oklahoma City. The group's 90-day window for gathering signatures from about 123,000 registered Oklahoma voters begins on Tuesday.

The group Oklahoma's Children, Our Future says they have recruited and trained more than 200 volunteer and paid staffers to collect signatures from across the state.

The sales tax would generate about $615 million annually and about 70 percent would be used to pay for a $5,000 pay raise for teachers.

According to a Gayly story last year, the Oklahoma Supreme Court  heard arguments challenging the initiative by  a conservative think tank opposed to higher taxes who claimed it violated the requirement that any proposed constitutional amendment pertain to only one subject. 

But in a NewsOk report in January, the court disagreed with that argument, and ruled, 6-3, that the proposal met the requirements of the Oklahoma Constitution and could move forward.


The Associated Press contributed to this story.

The Gayly- 2/16/2016 @ 10:33 AM CST