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410 W MAIN ST • ARDMORE, OK 73401 • (580) 223-7765 • Fax: (580) 223-7825

United States Chamber of Commerce Accredited

Invest in Our Future

10/01/2017

In the current climate of state budget cuts, no one is feeling the pinch quite as painfully (and with as many long-term implications) as the education system. Many school districts across the state have been forced to make difficult cuts to their programing and staff. Oklahoma is facing teacher shortages and ballooning class sizes. Music, art, foreign language, and other extracurricular programs have been cut. Without funds for new textbooks, many children go without or are forced to rely on outdated materials. Many districts have been forced to move to a four-day school week. Across Oklahoma, most districts have frozen any spending on technology.

Carter County has been able to avoid such freezes in technology, thanks to a proposition passed by voters in 2012, providing funds from one quarter of one percent sales tax for all public school districts in the county.  This money was specifically earmarked for technology equipment and instructional classroom materials. 

Over the past five years, the sales tax has provided over $9 million to Carter County schools. At a time when state budget cuts have been so severe for Oklahoma schools, these funds have been crucial for our students. The districts have invested that money into laptops and tablets for students, smartboards and printers, and even campus-wide wifi. Computer labs have been built or upgraded. Software providing digital learning has brought students up to the minute information in various subjects, and testing programs have given teachers the ability to better track student growth in reading, math, language arts and more. Students have gained access to updated curriculum and textbooks, as well as classroom materials and supplies.

Plainview superintendent Karl Striker wanted to thank voters for approving the proposition in 2012. “I cannot say thank you enough to our Carter County communities for your partnership in supporting the sales tax for schools,” he said. “Due to the continued funding difficulties in education, without this support, we would be unable to provide laptops, iPads, curriculum software and other classroom materials for our students.”

On October 10, 2017, the Carter County Board of Commissioners are holding a special election asking citizens to renew the ¼ cent sales tax for education. This is a continuation of the sales tax approved for education five years ago, and will not raise your current taxes. 

The proposition would extend this school resource for another five years. The current tax will expire in December 2017 if the proposition does not pass, and many of the benefits gained would be lost. Eric Smith, superintendent of Wilson School District, said, “For small school districts this is of dire importance and would be a devastating loss if we did not have it.  It provides every aspect of technology to our district and helps with our classroom improvements that would not be possible without it. With state budget cuts every year this sales tax is of upmost importance - not only would our teachers suffer but our students would lose valuable and irreplaceable resources without this sales tax.”

“October 10, 2017, the voters of Carter County have an opportunity to show their continued support for our local school systems.  The stories shared by area superintendents on how crucial these monies are for their students is compelling.  In addition, district patrons and taxpayers can be confident that those dollars are going into the classrooms and to our students”, notes Mita Bates, President of the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber of Commerce is passionate about education. We are asking you to please vote in favor of this proposition on Tuesday, October 10th. Visit facebook.com/VoteKIDSforCC/ for more information. If you are unsure where to vote, visit services.okelections.us for polling locations.