Home > Uncategorized > We’re cutting again; Now it’s #yourturn

We’re cutting again; Now it’s #yourturn

February 23, 2017

GR Failure 2.23.17.png

This afternoon, I received the following email from the State Superintendent about finances:

Dear Superintendent,

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.

Your turn.

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

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  1. Billy Lynn
    February 24, 2017 at 11:08 am

    One more try by the government to raise taxes by using education as the goat. We have approved numerous taxes in the past to elevate the states education level. The more dollars earmarked for education the more dollars removed from unearmarked education pockets. Cut the fat on other projects or inessential people on the payroll. The gov. should live on a budget like we all have to do.

    Like

    • February 24, 2017 at 11:52 am

      I’m sure you’re aware that our state has steeply cut taxes over the last ten years, creating enormous budget deficits that have been compounded by economic factors, such as energy prices and online shopping. We’ve been cutting spending for years. If you’d like to tell us which positions in my school district are non-essential, I’m all ears.

      Like

  2. Shawn
    February 24, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Why don’t some of these government officials take cuts in their pay?!? You can’t tell me we have enough to pay their huge salaries but not educate our children! Or pay for our qualified & quality teachers!

    Like

  3. Melissa Bullen
    February 24, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    My question is where is the hundred and ten million dollars that has been lost? Just this week there’s the $10 million misappropriation of funds from the education lottery; There’s the $42 million budget surplus where they cut too much last year; and who remembers the $60 million Obama gave the states for education? Just asking where the money for education went?

    Like

    • February 24, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      I can’t tell you where the lottery money went, only that it’s never been more than a drop in the bucket.

      The budget surplus (which was really a refund of an excess cut from last year’s budget) put about half a million back into our general fund and kept us in the black last fall.

      The Obama money you mention were one-time stimulus funds used to shore up state budget holes. We spent those during the 2010-11 school year. We weren’t allowed to hold onto them.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Valma
    February 24, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Most will not like this answer however, most states are unable to meet their budgets due rising population of immigrants. Funds have been diverted in one way or another to help feed, house, and provide medical assistance.

    Like

    • February 24, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      I don’t have a cost for that. I do know that the amount the state spends on PK-12 education has dropped 27% over the last 8 years.

      Like

      • Valma
        February 24, 2017 at 8:25 pm

        Do you have any idea what the enrollment increase or decrease was for the time period you mention.

        Like

      • Valma
        February 24, 2017 at 8:31 pm

        OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 14, 2014) — The number of students enrolled in Oklahoma public schools has increased for the 2013-14 school year. The total enrollment of students attending public schools in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 is 681,578. That is an increase of 8,388 students from 673,190 in 2012-13 enrollment and 27,036 more than in 2009, five years ago. (From the OK Department of Education).

        Like

  5. JoeFamilyBudgeter
    February 24, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    I have a simple question: How much is enough? What is the number today? A year from now? Ten years from now? We have to establish that as a threshold matter. (hint: the number you’re looking for is, as always, spelled with four letters – M-O-R-E)

    Like

    • February 24, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      As the post clearly states, schools have faced cut after cut, year after year. We’re not asking for “more.” We’re asking the state to quit cutting funds while schools serve more students.

      Thanks for reading.

      Like

    • In the Middle
      February 25, 2017 at 1:34 am

      I wonder if you would feel that way if your grocery money had been cut by 28%, yet you had more mouths to feed and prices had skyrocketed. Of course schools ask for more when they have more and more unfunded mandates and expenses that are constantly rising along with their populations

      Like

  6. February 24, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    Why can’t this State Tax Tobacco Users. This State pays higher welfare benefits than any state I know. So less on welfare benefits and tax Tobacco Users. Then You would have money to keep schools open.

    Like

  7. Michelle R
    February 25, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    A cut of pre-k to all districts would help with costs. It’s not required nor is it necessary.

    Like

  1. February 25, 2017 at 12:42 pm
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