We’re cutting again; Now it’s #yourturn
This afternoon, I received the following email from the State Superintendent about finances:
The General Revenue (GR) failure that was announced on February 21, 2017, has affected the FY2017 Midyear State Aid Allocation. Based on the FY2017 adjusted budget approved by the State Board of Education, we have reduced the funding formula’s GR portion by $7,270,161.
The adjusted funding formula allocation has also been reduced by the projected shortfall in the Education Reform Revolving Fund (1017 Fund) by $39,151,255, for a total cut to the formula allocation of $46,421,416. The adjusted allocation has been posted on the State Department of Education’s Single Sign On (SSO) application under Allocation Notices at https://sdeweb01.sde.ok.gov/SSO2/Signin.aspx.
Additionally, there will likely be a shortfall in the Common Education Technology Fund before the end of the fiscal year. We are closely monitoring the fund and will make necessary adjustments to the allocation in the coming months.
The new adjusted midyear allocation (02/23/17) has a factor of $3,008.60, which decreased by $42.00 from the FY2017 Midyear Allocation of $3,050.60 on January 4, 2017. A comparison report and all of the documentation (reports) will be posted on the State Aid web page athttp://sde.ok.gov/sde/state-aid by Friday, February 24, 2017. Your allocation may be modified as other conditions change.
The Flexible Benefit Allowance (FBA) funding has also been cut by the GR failure in the amount of $3,094,213, but we are able to maintain the allocation without any cuts to the Jan. 1 count adjustment (02/24/17) at this time.
Thank you for the work you do each day to serve your students and communities. These are difficult times which will require strong leadership at every level within districts and at the OSDE. Please let me know how we might offer greater support or assistance to you in the coming weeks and months.
Where should I start? How about by telling you what these cuts mean to one district with 14,300 students.
|General Fund Loss||$961,431|
|Anticipated Tech Fund Loss||$336,501|
|Total FY 17 Loss||$1,297,932|
That’s about 25 teaching positions (once you factor in benefits and employer taxes). That’s a reading or math textbook adoption for the entire district. Or 14school buses. Or a safe room. Or hundreds of new computers. Or a new roof on a wing of an old building.
That’s money the state told us we’d have available to serve our students this year. We don’t. That’s why we’re planning a bond issue that will take care of some of those costs.
Through the first three weeks of the legislative session, we’ve seen the Senate Education Committee look for ways to provide funding for private schools, in the form of vouchers. We’ve seen a pointless bill requiring students to pass a citizenship test before they can graduate. We’ve seen a bill that would term limit school board members (who are volunteers) and a bill to cap superintendent salaries. We’ve even seen a plethora of teacher pay raise bills, all with no funding source.
What we haven’t seen is a plan that addresses the fundamental revenue shortfalls that cause budgets to fail and all state agencies to reduce services.
This is the third year in a row that the state has seen a massive budget shortfall. It’s the second year in a row with a general revenue failure.
I believe the Capitol has many elected officials who mean well. There are also some who keep telling district leaders that we have to be willing to give something up, to become more efficient.
We cut over $5 million from our budget last year. Here we go again.
Bills about five-day weeks won’t change per pupil funding. Bills about consolidation won’t change per pupil funding. If you consolidated all the schools in Cimarron County into one district, Mid-Del wouldn’t get one more dollar. Nor would Tulsa. Or Miami. Or Chickasha. Or Woodward. Or Poteau. We still will have x dollars over y students. It’s simple math.
Don’t pass a teacher raise if you can’t fund it. Don’t neglect the operational costs we’ve been cutting for years and say you’ve “helped schools.”
Educators and parents: please take to social media and share #yourturn stories. What are you buying or raising money for that schools should be buying? What have the cuts of recent years looked like for you?
Elected leaders: Do something. #FixThisNow