CCOSA Guidance for State Question 801- Use of School Building Funds
Oct 15, 2018

What it does:

 State Question 801 would remove the restrictions on how schools can spend the 5 mills that are currently reserved for the building fund, for school district maintenance, repairs, upkeep and construction of facilities and allows that revenue to also be spent on general operations.

 This state question does not provide any new dollars to our public schools above what they currently have, but does allow existing funds to be used for general school operations. Most school district's building funds are very small and are already committed to support building projects, maintenance and repairs, and utilities.

 While this measure, if approved, would provide flexibility and increased local control to school districts for spending, it could have unintended consequences that should also be considered.

Concerns:

  • This change would provide greater benefit to school districts with a broader ad valorem base and thus will increase inequities in salaries and funding among school districts, if used for teacher salaries as an example.

  • It could put districts in a difficult position in tough budget years if they would have to choose between necessary building maintenance or repairs and operational needs that had been funded with state dollars. Delaying some repairs, could lead to more expensive fixes to the facility problems later.

  • Making these funds available for operations could also bring them into salary and collective bargaining negotiations, which could put political pressure on boards to not make needed facility repairs.

  • Many districts plan ahead to let dollars accumulate in their building fund in order to make more significant repairs such as roof replacement. This change could increase the political pressure to spend all of the money available to them and make it more difficult to accumulate monies for building projects or other authorized uses.

  • Oklahoma is one of only 4 states that does not have a state funded building fund so these local property tax dollars are vitally important to districts for all facility maintenance and infrastructure projects.

Please talk to your staff, parents, and community patrons about the actual impact that this state question could have on your district and on the inequities of funding statewide.