"Any bill that forces us to make severe cuts in education year after year for the foreseeable future is no solution. We already rank 50th in school funding. We can't afford to fall to 51st."
"No matter how people try to massage the state budget, this is going to take a substantial chunk of funding out of education at a time when we should be pouring every available dollar into the public schools. I don't want to sentence Oklahoma to overcrowded classrooms, crumbling schools, underpaid teachers and a third world education system, but that's exactly what this bill will do if it's passed in its current form.
Some people are touting quick-fix solutions for how we can supposedly build an unlimited number of new prisons without taking money from education, but none of those proposals holds water. For example, the suggestion that accelerated tax collections could provide a painless funding mechanism for HB 1003 is absurd. Not only is that a limited, one-time source, but the money has already been earmarked for education. Using that cash for new prisons instead would be the first of many funding hits our public schools would have to take.
I've advised committee members to go back to work and see if they can devise a more cost-effective plan. If that proves impossible, we may have to look at repeal."