State Superintendent: Executive Order On School Consolidation 'Deeply Flawed'

Wednesday, September 5th 2018, 7:22 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

The State Department of Education says they will not give Governor Mary Fallin a list of schools for possible consolidation.

Last November, the governor issued an executive order saying all school districts that spent less than 60 percent of their budget in the classroom were to be complied onto a list. Then, the State Board of Education would use that list to make recommendations on what districts should have their administrations consolidated.

SEE: Educators React To Fallin's Consolidation Order

The deadline was September 1.

“It’s a deeply flawed executive order. It’s not something that I think is appropriate anyway,” said Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent.

Right before the deadline, the chief counsel for the Department of Education sent a memo to the governor saying the executive order contains "uncertainties", including the definition of "instructional expenditures".

Using the governor's parameters, the memo says, "approximately ninety-one percent (91%) of public schools - traditional and charter schools - in the state are to be considered for administrative consolidation.”

“Any kind of artificial bar that’s been set where decisions are made at the executive branch or at 23rd and Lincoln here at the capitol are not necessarily going to be the best for students,” said Hofmeister.

In addition, the letter says the governor doesn't have the authority to demand the list and similar legislative attempts at consolidation have failed.

“I think that the very best thing is to keep the focus on instructional dollars to the classroom but also respect local districts on their decisions as they know their students best and how to best allocate funds,” said Hofmeister.

A spokesperson for the governor's office told News 9 she is reviewing the letter.