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May 25, 2012

How much is 11.5 million dollars? It’s roughly a third of the money Oklahoma schools get annually to spend on instructional materials. And it’s the amount that the SDE is now going to withhold from schools to maintain its own budget. Once again, the legislature – which had money to deposit in the rainy day fund – failed to even give flat funding to public education. Schools have more students and more mandates but less money.

Instructional materials funding is not just used to buy textbooks. It’s used to buy software, online subscriptions, and class sets of novels as well. If you’re a parent, and you wonder next year why your kid’s books are falling apart or why they have to stay in the classroom, remember this moment. It is the nexus of two bad decisions. First, the legislature missed the opportunity to restore funding to the levels schools received before the recession. Second, the state superintendent capriciously decided that schools need those funds less than her dysfunctional state agency.

Shame on both.

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