Athletics, Fine Arts Cuts Being Considered By School Districts

Wednesday, March 9th 2016, 5:47 pm

Districts have been crunching the numbers and are now talking about where the cuts will come.

In Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Rob Neu said Oklahoma schools are facing a $1.3 billion budget shortfall next year and they may have to start talking about shortening the school year. 

In Mid-Del, budget cuts next year are expected to be what Superintendent Rick Cobb calls monumental. He estimates they will have as much as $10 million less.

“The things that are not absolutely required are the things we have to consider reducing or eliminating,” Cobb said.

3/9/2016 Related Story: Mid-Del Superintendent Voices Concerns Over Budget Cuts

To make up for cuts after the deepened state revenue failure, there will be no elementary track meet or music festival, and the district is shutting down all future spending in order to have enough money to pay their bills this summer.

“Planning for next year, we know we’re planning for a bad budget,” Cobb said. “But we know that going into the summer. We don’t know that six months into the school year so this year has been the hardest part to adjust to.”

But next year, the cuts will go much deeper. The district is considering reducing or eliminating bus service, eliminating elementary or 6th grade athletics, reducing supplies and eliminating electives with low enrollment. 

The cuts being considered in Oklahoma City are similar. Options include reductions in athletic and fine arts and school site consolidation. But both superintendents said it still won't be enough to keep class sizes from growing even more.

Cobb said the help they got Wednesday in the Legislature from the rainy day fund will help not only with this year but next year as well.