OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO) –School funding across the state was slashed by $46.7 million and it impacts the remaining six months of the 2016 fiscal year, which ends June 30.
"There is no denying that this cut poses serious challenges for school districts during a time in which every dollar already is precious, and not all districts will be affected the same way. But the State Board of Education and Oklahoma State Department of Education have addressed the required cuts as fairly and judiciously as possible, while attempting to minimize student impact," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister.
Oklahoma has 550 plus school districts—including public, private and co-op schools—and the reduction in the budget will be felt in the already cash-strapped schools. Hofmeister and the other board members say they were able to soften the blow by a bit when they transferred $4.6 million from the Public School Activities appropriation fund to the State Funding Formula.
Each line item in the new budget saw a minimum three percent cut unless the funding was already 100 percent distributed. However, AP Teacher Training and test Fee Assistance saw a 54.69 percent cut, Staff Development for Schools saw a 50 percent cut and STEM Ready Schools was cut out completely to give the formula some extra flexibility. Additionally, the board approved a $3.9 million cut in School Activities appropriation.
Financial Support of Public Schools saw a $25,029,468.69 reduction (1.33%).
Flexible Benefit Allowance was reduced by $12,480,706.95 (3%).
Support of Public School Activities was cut by $8,597,144.79 (6.6%).
Administrative and Support Function went down $671,978.85 (3%).
The total appropriation for Oklahoma schools was cut by $46,779,299.28 (1.88%)
The $6,536,870 from the Oklahoma Lottery remained the same.
You can see the changes to the budget here.