OKC Public Schools To Lose State Aid Money For 2nd Straight Month

Thursday, February 16th 2017, 9:49 pm
By: Grant Hermes

For the second month in a row, Oklahoma public schools are being told they'll be shorted millions of dollars thanks to lagging state revenue.

In a memo sent to state superintendents, the Department of Education said, "there continues to be a cash-flow issue."

Which means schools will be shorted another $8.4 million in state aid bringing the total to $18.1 million for 2017.

State revenue shortages caused a shortfall of state aid money in January of $9.7 million.

“The cut is this year but that cut is really out of next year because you've already budgeted this year. Everyone has a contract,” Oklahoma State School Board Association Executive Director Shawn Hime said. “Everything has been purchased. By the time you get to February everything is already on the books.”

Hime said the problem is worse than the memo states. He said the annual shortfall for this year is projected to be closer to $50 million, a deep cut to classrooms.

“What it really translates into is over 1000 teaching positions. Fifty-million pays for another thousand teachers,” said Hime.

His figure comes from a combination of projected totals from two funds allotted for education. The largest fund known as the 1017 fund, uses a variety of taxes to replenish the money, which goes to hundreds of schools across the state.

Only 37 school districts do not receive state aid. However, with state revenue down and schools being forced to cut to bare bones, the only things that are left to get rid of are people.

“We're talking about custodians, cafeteria workers, secretaries, counselors and classroom teachers,” said Hime.