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Senate bill to help manage school funds

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 7:47 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - A local state senator has filed a bill which would allow school districts across the state to carry over unused funds from year to year.

Senator Jessica Garvin filed Senate Bill 1126 to allow the carryover to happen.

Garvin filed the bill after learning that districts were essentially penalized for having extra money.

Currently, school districts have to either use all of the money budgeted to them in a school year, or lose it and have nothing. Senate Bill 1126 would allow districts to keep unspent money to use however they wish in the future.

“Basically, what I’m trying to accomplish is for schools districts that are able to save money while still providing a quality education to Oklahoma students,” Garvin said. “That they would not be penalized and that they can move those funds from one year to the next year so that they can do some strategic planning. Maybe they are going to offer incentives and bonuses, sign on bonuses for teachers maybe their going to purchase chrome books for every student in there district. Maybe their going to save money for 10 years and build a new school.”

If the bill passes, the carryover amounts would have to be reported to the State Department of Education annually.

“So, the school districts already in Oklahoma are required to do certain reporting on the state school board website. This is just asking for more physical transparency. We not putting limitations on how they can spend those rollover funds, were just asking them to be transparent about how they are spending those funds.”

Duncan Public Schools Superintendent Tom Deighan appreciates Senator Garvin for figuring out how schools can benefit from the extra funds.

“Especially in districts like Duncan or a lot of districts in the state of Oklahoma we rely a lot on oil and gas revenue and we all know how that fluctuates,” Deighan said. “By allowing schools to have a little bigger carry over it would help us get through some of those tough years.”

Although, Deighan is all for the bill he has just one concern.

“My only concern with the bill is hoping that all legislators understand in the future I would be concerned about this being used against schools because they have to much money and we need to cut their funding, but again this is in line with what the Governor’s philosophy is about having a bigger better rainy day fund, and I think its a really good thing for schools,” Deighan said.

If the bill passes in to law, school districts could start saving this upcoming school year.

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