Public schools face shortfall of millions

Friday, February 22nd 2008, 7:17 pm
By: News 9

By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9

Officials say a $37 million shortfall could affect everything from cutting down bus services, school programs and even jobs.

The shortage came from a decline in state revenue. The decline stemmed from a drop in tax collections, specifically income and corporate taxes.

Shelley Shelby with the Oklahoma State School Boards Association said the shortfall could trigger more layoffs and put a damper on teacher pay raises.

"At this point, we're having a problem paying our teachers with this year and so it's not going to be impossible to do much of a raise for next year unless the funds that are coming in for the state miraculously recover," Shelby said.

For that miraculous recovery to make up for a $37 million difference, State Superintendent Sandy Garrett is planning to go before the School board of education and request supplemental funds.

"It's cash on hand, the legislature can use to appropriate money to pay for supplemental for this current year and that's what we need," Garrett said.

If the State Board of Education approves the request, the next step is up to the lawmakers.