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Finance Officials On State Education Budget Request

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The state budget crisis has been felt in school districts all across Oklahoma. The state budget crisis has been felt in school districts all across Oklahoma.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The state budget crisis has been felt in school districts all across Oklahoma.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE), deep cuts were made to only appropriate $2.4-billion for education in fiscal year 2017. And now for the fiscal year 2018, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister wants $2.6-billion, which is roughly $221-million more.

Matt Holder, the Deputy Superintendent of Finance and Federal Programs with the OSDE, said the extra money is needed to keep up with student growth in Oklahoma and the rising costs of healthcare premiums, to purchase new textbooks and restore the amounts appropriated in 2016.

“I know it seems like we’re asking for more money but in a sense, we’re really just trying to maintain where we’re at, at this point in time,” said Holder.    

Superintendent Hofmeister's team will have a budget hearing with the Senate toward the end of this month. Then the Legislature will take it from there.

If the department doesn't get the money they said they need, Hofmeister's team will have to reprioritize.

“It’s just like anything else. If we don’t have the money, there’s going to be some things, some services, whether it’s the local school district or here at the agency, that are not going to be able to happen,” said Holder.

The Superintendent also requested an additional $282-million to fund four more instructional days and an annual $3,000 pay raise for teachers, as part of her #OKHigh5 initiative.

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