Rating service says ruling “credit positive” for schools

OKLAHOMA – An international credit rating service says an Oklahoma Supreme Court decision that voided an initiative petition to overturn tax hikes to fund public education is “credit positive” for the state’s school districts.

The high court’s June 22 decision says the proposed referendum was legally insufficient and its proposed ballot title was misleading. It ordered that the initiative petition not appear on the general election ballot in November.

A public finance report issued by Moody’s Investors Service says the decision preserves state funding for teacher pay increases that average $6,100 a year and reduces the prospect that school districts will need to make midyear cuts to pay for the raises.

Moody’s says that if voters had rejected the tax increases, schools may have to pay for the raises without state aid.

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