Storms possible this weekend

Oklahoma Attorney General: Using trust for teacher raises is unlawful

OKLAHOMA CITY – An analysis by the Oklahoma Attorney General says a proposal to use the Commissioners of the Land Office school trust for teacher raises or bonuses runs contrary to state and federal law and the Oklahoma Constitution.

The Tulsa World reports that Republican state Rep. Tom Gann’s bill would give pay raises or bonuses to teachers without raising taxes by tapping into $2.4 billion in trust funds managed by the Commissioners of the Land Office.

But Commissioners of the Land Secretary Harry Birdwell says most of that is in the form of unrealized capital gains that must remain part of the trust principal, even if they are liquidated.

The analysis from Attorney General Mike Hunter agrees with Birdwell. The analysis also says that some key portions of the bill seem to be contrary to the law, impractical and unclear.