(Alexandria, VA) -- A soon-to-be-circulated proposal to boost the effectiveness of schools in Oklahoma without raising taxes has drawn early raves from the nation's largest grassroots taxpayer organization. Today the 350,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), which has over 5,900 members in Oklahoma, endorsed a measure that would dedicate 65 percent of all education funding to classroom instruction.
"Currently only 57.9 cents on the dollar are devoted to direct instruction. This citizen-driven ballot proposal would channel more than $269 million to classrooms without the specter of tax hikes or costly bond measures," said NTU Government Affairs Manager Kristina Rasmussen, endorsing the Oklahoma funding blueprint. "Until now taxpayers have faced a devil's dilemma of higher property taxes or cuts in vital funding. This innovative proposal would chart a third way toward providing education funding and preserving taxpayers' wallets."
If the plan is adopted, Oklahoma would not be the first state to increase funding for the classroom. Utah, Tennessee, New York, and Maine all spend at least 65 percent of their education budgets in the classroom. More than a dozen states spend less than 50 percent, placing more emphasis on non-essential administrative and bureaucratic red tape that interferes with classroom resources. The District of Columbia for example, devotes less than 50 percent, and has one of the worst performing school districts in the nation. Several studies have concluded that a connection exists between proportionally higher in-class expenditures and learning.
According to one study conducted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, "students benefit when schools restructure their financial priorities and shift more money to classroom instruction. The relationship between spending and education is clear. Student achievement rises when schools devote a larger portion of their budgets to instruction." Another related study by the University of Texas concluded, "[M]ore effective resource allocation can help school districts achieve the goal of high academic performance of all students."
"Channeling money toward direct classroom education is a common sense measure that policymakers of all ideologies should embrace," Rasmussen concluded. "Oklahomans deserve to have their $2.1 billion spent in the classroom, and not squandered on bureaucratic or low-priority activities that don't help their children."
NTU is a non-profit, non-partisan citizen group founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels.