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Local group pushes for education solutions

OKLAHOMA  -  The Oklahoma Academy is a group of nonpartisan educators, former lawmakers and everyday people lobbying for change in the state of Oklahoma.

“We all know that there's a big budget hole just like there was last year, but we gotta just roll up our sleeves. I think when's there's a will, there's a way,” said Chairman Dan Boren.

Last year, the Academy toured more than 30 towns and cities across the state to share recommendations from the past years.

And now they're ready to take those ideas before the Governor and lawmakers.

“We've come up with several different things from the academy to show legislators how to get there,” said Boren.

Their overall mission is to find ways to increase revenue, cut wasteful spending and improve services like education so students all across the state have access to a fair and equal education.

“And to help funds those things we've been an advocate for modernizing our tax code as well to expand our sales tax base to cover services, to simplify our income tax,” said Mickey Hepner.

Hepner said one way to help schools is to increase funding for school districts.

That includes increasing teacher pay and even consolidating administrative offices.

“We can find the revenue but we have to make those significant investments in education going forward.”

The group said getting there will take some sacrifices, but they believe with their goals it can get done.

“We focus so much on how do we cut taxes instead of thinking how do we improve the quality of life,” said Hepner.

The goals are for 2017 through 2020.

Click here for more information on their strategic plan.