By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The school that grooms some of Oklahoma's best and brightest is suffering from layoffs.

The Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics gives focused education to students from across the state that are gifted and show a special interest in science and mathematics. The students are looked at as Oklahoma's future engineers and researchers.

"It's a total learning environment so it brings out the best qualities in them as far as academics are concerned," said Jerry Burger, OSSM parent.

Due to budget issues, OSSM has been forced to lay off 16 people, both on the main campus and at OSSM's Regional Centers.

"Education was not cut as much as other agencies, but we were viewed as other agencies were viewed, not as an education entity," said Dr. Edna Manning, OSSM president.

Which means OSSM must absorb a deeper cut than all the other schools in the state. The school will have 15 percent less funding in the coming school year, and many of those laid off are professors who are integral to making the most out of student potential at OSSM.

"The state of Oklahoma will be the long-term loser," Manning said.

Manning said it's not that OSSM doesn't want any cuts, they just want to be on the same playing field.

"I assumed that we would probably be cut as education was cut. It was a bad assumption on my part," Manning said.

For the past five years, OSSM has been recognized by NEWSWEEK as one of America's top 20 best high schools.