Lawton Public Schools prepare for impact on state education budget cuts

Lawton Public Schools prepare for impact on state education budget cuts

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Big budget cuts and Oklahoma's ongoing difficulties with allocating money for education are impacting districts across the state..and now Lawton Public School's Superintendent sharing his concerns after the state department of education announced more cuts.

The state notified public schools last week that their monthly payments from the state would be lessened by an additional 18 million dollars, bringing the total reductions since January to about 87 million for schools across the state.

Since January Lawton Public Schools has already been cut about 1.7 million dollars. They anticipate a revenue shortfall to reduce future payments from the state even further through June, totaling up to 3.4 million dollars.

Superintendent Dr. Tom Deighan said with the cuts they are facing right now they are going to finish this year without any disruptions and don't anticipate any for the next school year but its the 2018 through 2019 year that concerns him.
"The year after is going to be a tough year. So we are going to start next year from Day 1 looking at how we work in the future to really just maximize our resources and be as sufficient as possible and keep meeting our students needs," Deighan said.

Dieghan said they have been fortunate to order new textbooks for the first time in a decade and increase their principal budget and classroom supplies over the past few years...However, he said, if the state doesn't turn around at some point they are going to have to make some tough decisions in the future.

"Our number one priority is to keep all of our people employed and supply the classroom. Every millions dollars accounts for about 30 teachers, it accounts for about 40 support staff, and so it impacts lives, impacts how our children get served, and so it's serious business," Deighan said.

Deighan said most of the legislators are in a tremendously tough spot and the problems we are facing are systemic, existing for years. He hopes they will think outside the box.

"Maybe a temporary sales tax that would get us through the next couple of years. Maybe some of the off the top spending options to re-visit that. I believe the legislators have the ability and the idea that they need to do it," Deighan said.

If the state can't find a solution to the problem Deighan fears teachers will leave the state.

"We've got great educators, the fatigue of the last decade is just wearing on them, and If I could say anything to them just please stay in place  for our kids," Deighan said.

Deighan said they are going to continue to work with other school districts.They will also have their monthly legislative breakfast this Friday at Cameron University in Shepler Ballroom at 7:30 a.m., to brainstorm ideas to help find a solution to budget cuts.

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