Schools Will Fail to Make Payroll Due to Budget Cuts
By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Scary was the word repeatedly being passed around the State Board Of Education meeting Thursday in response to the recent state budget cuts.
"Prior to this week we have been careful about saying whether or not there would be layoffs. I can now say without a doubt that we're going to lose teachers from our workforce," said State Superintendent Sandy Garrett.
James White is the Assistant State Superintendent and said, "25 schools will not be able to meet payroll by the end of the year."
"Schools are looking at annexation, going to another school, closing. Some schools look to possibly to go to judgment, which means their district will take responsibility of the debt. If it is not able to pay people, people will take them to court, sue and taxpayers of the district will have to pay the debt of that school for the remainder of the year," White said.
There is worry that many of Oklahoma's teachers will leave for good and others won't want to come to Oklahoma because of the poor and falling funding.
Oklahoma schools have lost $43 million in the last five months, and now there are worries state budget cuts will cut deeper because insurance costs will rise in January.
"We've got really topnotch people scared, I mean frightened and they should be," said Tim Gilpin, State Board Of Education member.
The 8 percent rate increase will cost the state an additional $33 per insured employee. It will be part of what contributes to a $21 million shortfall for health insurance for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Education leaders are hoping the Rainy Day fund will be used to help alleviate the problem.