We mean different things by flat, right?
In case you missed the memo, our state’s legislative leaders are selling the idea that they’ve given us flat funding. I’ll try to make the case, again, that they haven’t, when I have more time over the weekend. In the meantime, enjoy this memo we all just received from the Oklahoma State Department of Education:
OK State Dept of Ed sent this bulletin at 06/08/2016 09:20 AM CDT
Elimination of textbook funds has districts scrambling, delays textbook adoption
OKLAHOMA CITY (June 8, 2016) — The state Legislature’s elimination of all funds designated for school textbooks has forced the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) to recommend a one-year delay of textbook selection. Although $33 million was appropriated for textbooks in Fiscal Year 2016, legislators zeroed out the line item for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
“The lack of appropriated dollars for textbooks is posing serious challenges for districts across Oklahoma,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “At a time when educators are implementing new, stronger standards for English language arts and mathematics, districts will be scrambling to raise funds to replace workbooks and other consumable materials for early reading students. In the meantime, children will continue to be saddled with outdated and tattered school books held together by duct tape.”
Hofmeister noted that school districts have little recourse but to delay the purchase of textbooks for reading and math, a restriction that can be particularly challenging for elementary school students.
“As a result of the funds being cut this year, we are seeing a number of textbook publishers pulling out of Oklahoma,” she said.
Under Oklahoma statute, the State Textbook Committee may delay by two years the textbook-adoption process. Every six years, the committee adopts textbooks for specific class subjects.
The 13-member committee, which is appointed by the governor, is expected to consider the recommendation at a special meeting later this month.
I spoke with two textbook representatives today, and they told me they are not pulling out of the state. However, that’s just two. There are others.
This is just the beginning of the ramifications we will see from this “flat” budget.