New Revenue Shortfall Means Millions More Will Be Lost From Schools

Thursday, April 28th 2016, 5:39 pm
By: Grant Hermes

Millions more dollars will not be making into the bank accounts of Oklahoma schools after the Department of Education announced a major revenue fund did not collect enough money.

The Common Education Technology Revolving Fund serves as one of six major sources of revenue. The fund collects money from gross production tax and is used to fund operations costs. The cuts to schools would be anywhere from $13 to $17 million, according to the DOE.

The shortfall announcement, made on Wednesday, comes less than two months before schools let out for the summer; a time when many districts pay contractors and invoice for services. It also comes just two days before school boards have to have next year's budget finalized and sent to the state.

“There is…an opportunity for us…to cut away any distractions that certainly are costly and focus only on instruction,” State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said on Thursday.

Budget issues for this year are already too far gone to fix, but it is next year's finances administrators are looking toward. According to a new study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Oklahoma has cut 24.2 percent in per student funding since 2008 as class sizes continue to rise.

When asked what the shortfalls would mean for schools in the metro, a spokesperson said in part, "Oklahoma City Public Schools Finance Office had already projected this additional revenue hit to our budget, and our figures remain in line with this state update."

But not all districts will be so lucky.

“One thing's for certain. There's not one district in Oklahoma that is going to be able to provide more for kids next year and that is not good for kids,” Hofmeister said.