University Of Oklahoma President Visits Carl Albert State College, Addresses Education Crisis

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POTEAU (KFSM) -- The state of Oklahoma is in the middle of an education crisis.

“I would love to stay in Oklahoma, but I'm not really sure if I will or not,” Ashley Moore said.

This is Moore’s second year at Carl Albert State College. She’s studying elementary education, but right now Oklahoma ranks 50th in the nation when it comes to investing in its students, so aspiring teachers like Moore are thinking about leaving.

“We've got thousands of children without qualified, fully-certified teachers,” said David Boren, University of Oklahoma president. “A third of our districts have four-day school weeks.”

State Question 779, a measure on the November ballot, would pump $600 million back into the school system. Boren said it’s a one-cent sales tax increase that would help solve the education crisis.

“I always say our children are worth a penny,” he said.

If the measure passes, the majority of the money will go to teachers and schools. Every teacher in the state will get a $5,000 raise.

“That's the biggest number—almost $300 million,” Boren said. “Another $120 million will go to local school districts where they will decide for themselves what are our most urgent needs.”

Around $100 million would help make college more affordable. Another $60 million would go to early education, benefiting children in kindergarten and Pre-K. Also $20 million would go to career training.

As for Moore who has educators in her family, it would be an incentive for her to stay in Oklahoma.

“It would definitely help out my family a lot,” she said. “Just getting that extra pay raise to be able to help with just bills and general things like that.”

If the measure doesn’t pass, schools in Oklahoma will face another round of cuts.