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Hofmeister: Possibly Dim Future For Education Funding

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BARTLESVILLE, Oklahoma -

Oklahoma's State School Superintendent says she's concerned the lack of progress on this year's budget means education funding won't get any better next year.

Joy Hofmeister said the stalemate is having an effect on education, though not directly on the budget.

A parent’s education advocacy group arranged a question and answer session with Joy Hofmeister to explain what's happening with school funding.

Hofmeister said she was encouraged by the near miss on a teacher pay raise this week, but worries the situation will be worse when the legislature starts work on a new budget for next year.

"It makes the promise of a teacher pay raise less likely," said Hofmeister. 

She believes teachers are wearing thin with more work for the same pay, especially with the scope of their increasing responsibilities.

Hofmeister said, “The teachers in our classrooms are shouldering responsibilities that social workers used to handle."

Many of the questions for her centered on money for schools and specifically for teachers.

The meeting was an effort to get more parents involved in pushing for change.

“There's that interesting dichotomy of frustration and irritation and passion and when that's blended together, it can turn into advocacy,” said Bartlesville parent Keri Bostwick. 

One result, according to Hofmeister, is the drive in both Tulsa and Oklahoma City to consider more local money for education.

“I think what you see in this call for local revenue, is the desire for stability, they want to count on dollars being driven to the classroom,” said Hofmeister. 

Hofmeister said the budget cuts for DHS, in particular, will impact schools as even more issues with dysfunctional families come into the classroom

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