What the Stimulus Means for Oklahoma Schools

Thursday, February 26th 2009, 10:03 pm
By: News 9

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- School districts are getting a better idea of just how much stimulus money their schools could get. Oklahoma is set to receive $287 million for education.

Read a breakdown on what each district is estimated to get and what superintendents would like to do with it.

Superintendents say the funding is groundbreaking. In many areas it's more funding than the federal government has ever given schools.

When students in Oklahoma City hit the books, the majority are economically disadvantaged. Superintendent Karl Springer says stimulus money is about to change their future.

"We'll be able to provide services not provided before; after school, maybe before school, in the summer, more materials, more books, more technology," Springer said.

In all, the Oklahoma City School District is expected to get the largest pot, more than $31.2 million.

"If I could get what I want, we'd have a 200-day school year," Springer said.

He'd also like to focus on reading programs for the youngest students.

While Oklahoma City is slated to get the most funding, Tulsa will likely be second, with an estimated $27.6 million.

Around the metro, Moore could get close to $5.2 million, Edmond just over $5.2 million. Norman is eyeing $3.9 million and Norman superintendent Joe Siano has concerns like what happens when the money stops.

"The one thing in education you can't do is while finances is there, you implement something effective and then when finances go away you lose that initiative; sustainability is key," --- said.

State Superintendent Sandy Garrett told school leaders in a meeting, she's been told by the Obama administration the money won't stop.

"This is what they consider a down payment for the foundation of 21st Century education, so it will continue in their eyes as long as they're there," Garrett said.

Accountability is being stressed to spend the money properly. Federal Guidelines and restrictions on how to spend the funds are expected to come out on Monday.