Duncan has a plan to get through budget cut

Duncan has a plan to get through budget cut

DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) -In the coming months, school districts all over the state will face some difficult choices.

The Oklahoma Board of Education voted to cut more than $46 million for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends June 30, as a result of the state's budget crisis.

Instead of across-the-board cuts, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister recommended a reduction in funding to certain programs in order to soften the blow these cuts could make, but she says more cuts could be on the way.

Duncan Superintendent Melonie Hau was at the meeting Thursday and said she was discouraged after it was over. She said she knew she had to come back to Duncan to reassure her district that they have a plan to survive these cuts.

"We pre-planned for that and we are working hard to just maintain and just be stable," said Superintendent Hau.

Superintendent Hau says to make it through to the end of the school year, the district is dipping into their Building Reserve Fund, much like a 'rainy day' fund. The downside to using the fund is some projects, like re-paving a parking lot or upgrading athletics facilities, will be put on the back burner. But Superintendent Hau says that's a temporary fix.

"We can be as smart as we want to be, but you know five years down the road, three years down the road...I'm not sure what will happen. It's hard to think about what could happen," Superintendent Hau said.

Right now, the administration is looking for ways to reduce programs for the next school year because Hau says she knows more cuts are predicted, because lawmakers have already projected a $900 million shortfall.

Plato Elementary kindergarten teacher Abby Leonard says the teachers are resilient despite the smaller budget.

"We have to be creative we have to find ways to make it work. It might not always be the ideal but we can make it work," Leonard said.

The district also is looking into private funding from the Public Schools Foundation to get the tools teachers need for the classroom.

"You take it to the people of this town, the businesses of this town...you have to make the people understand how important this is. How we are already scraping by that we have to have extra help," Leonard said.

Superintendent Hau wants students and parents to know that right now they are not cutting any programs offered at the school this semester, and hoping with good planning, they won't have to in the future.

You can read more about the budget cuts here.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.