Oklahoma schools brace for tight budget

TULSA, OK (AP) - Oklahoma school districts already are starting to prepare for what is expected to be a tight upcoming budget year.

State aid to schools for the 2009-10 budget year is expected to drop significantly. Districts are hoping to offense some of that loss through so-called "stabilization funds" from the federal stimulus bill, but plans also are being made to cut budgets.

About $472 million of the $578 million in the stimulus package that is designated for budget stabilization in Oklahoma will be reserved for common and higher education.

Trish Williams, the chief financial officer for Tulsa Public Schools, says that is 2-year money, but districts are hopeful that will help fill the hole in the state aid formula next year with the economic downturn.

Oklahoma State Department of Education spokeswoman Shelly Hickman says that agency isn't able to offer much advice to districts about the upcoming fiscal year because it's yet to be determined by the governor and state superintendent how the stabilization funds should be used.

Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

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