Okla. Tentative Budget Includes $80 Million In Education Funding

Monday, May 19th 2014, 5:28 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

The legislature now has a tentative budget that includes an increase for education.

When 25,000 people gathered at the capitol earlier this year they wanted to send a clear message: make education a priority.

Now lawmakers are including an $80 million increase in education funding. Forty million dollars has already been allocated to take care of insurance for education employees. The current increase would amount to about $60 dollars a student.

"I would applaud the governor and the legislative leadership for this tentative agreement," said Dr. David Goin, the superintendent of Edmond Public Schools. "It will allow us to minimize the increases that we would have otherwise had in class sizes, especially in the early childhood and elementary level."

Scott Randall, OKCPS Chief Finance Officer said they are looking forward to the proposed budget being approved.

"We are pleased that the budget agreement includes a funding increase for education and not a decrease," he said.

"We're still going to feel effects from this, but it's a start," said Alicia Priest, the vice president of the Oklahoma Education Association.

Still the OEA and Dr. Goin says what they really want is a long term solution that will help address teacher recruitment and retention. Like that laid out in HB 2642, that we're told has support from most lawmakers. But the head of the budget and appropriations committee Clark Jolley has yet to give it a hearing.

"We would prefer 2642 to get off Clark Jolley's desk and to let that get into the hands of legislators to vote on and for us to have a long term funding source," said Priest.

Oklahoma City Schools CFO said they are pleased the budget includes a funding increase.