Impact Of Losing "No Child Left Behind" Waiver Debated

Wednesday, September 10th 2014, 6:55 pm
By: News 9

The ripple effect continues after Oklahoma loses its waiver for No Child Left Behind. Since the announcement, school districts have been evaluating how they may be impacted.

When the legislature repealed Common Core, some law makers say they were responding to the strong bi-partisan public backlash against common core. But now with a chance districts could lose control of funds, there are different concerns for next year.

"We'll still serve the kids to the best of the ability, but we will lose some bodies who serve the kids," said Dr. Rick Cobb, with Moore Public Schools.

When Moore Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rick Cobb says bodies, he means 50 instructors, paid with Title One funds, and specialized in one-on-one tutoring with children from low-income families. But those instructors could be next year's budget cuts after the state lost its No Child Left Behind federal waiver.

8/28/2014 Related Story: Oklahoma Loses "No Child Left Behind" Waiver

In all, the district could lose control of 20% of its Title One funds, equating to nearly half a million dollars. Summer school programs are also at risk.

"We're afraid what's going to happen. We're going to set that money aside and it really won't be used. Meanwhile we have needs and we have strategies that we know are effective for meeting those needs, but we can't touch the money," said Cobb.

"The money doesn't belong to the schools. The money comes to the state to help students who come from families with a low income," said Rep. Jason Nelson, D – district 87.

How the money is used will now be up to parents. It could pay to transfer a child to a different school or hire a private tutor.

Nelson co-authored the bill that repealed Common Core. And while he feels the federal government should have granted the waiver based on the state's plan to create new standards, he maintains the loss won't hurt education.

"That's what our kids deserve is a high set of standards, not us adopting and keeping something in place that we've adopted on faith," said Nelson.

"Ultimately we show up every day and help serve the kids as best as possible," said Cobb.

Legislators have given the state up to two years to develop new standards. If Oklahoma's new standards are approved by the federal government before next school year, the waiver could be returned before school's flexibility with the funds is impacted.