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Funding Shortfalls Put Oklahoma Schools In A Bind

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The state education department reports if things don't improve, more cuts could come as early as next month and many worry that could eventually mean layoffs or consolidation for some schools statewide. The state education department reports if things don't improve, more cuts could come as early as next month and many worry that could eventually mean layoffs or consolidation for some schools statewide.
Soon, the state education department will survey every school district in the state to see what kind of impact the five percent cut is having. Soon, the state education department will survey every school district in the state to see what kind of impact the five percent cut is having.

By Craig Day, The News On 6

UNDATED -- Agencies across Oklahoma are being forced to make painful cuts. The state education department reports funding shortfalls are putting schools in a bind and many worry that could lead to layoffs, consolidation or even closure.

Like most school districts, Barnsdall is working to make do with less. With state agencies facing five percent across the board cuts, schools are no exception.

"It is a challenge day to day," said Rick Loggins, Barnsdall School Superintendent.

This is turning out to be one of the most challenging budget years school districts have had to face. For Barnsdall, that means a $15,000 cut this month alone. That's a lot for a small district.

"My worry is as this progresses, if it doesn't change over the next couple of months, we will probably look at some kind of layoffs, which is hard for us because we're down to a skeleton crew the way it is," said Rick Loggins.

Nearby Wynona Schools and countless other districts statewide are also facing the same budget bind. Wynona is coping by using surplus funds built up from years past, but that won't last forever.

"Another thing that is really difficult is that when they cut the budgets, they are not cutting the mandates," said Dixie Hurd, Wynona School Superintendent.

The state education department reports if things don't improve, more cuts could come as early as next month and many worry that could eventually mean layoffs or consolidation for some schools statewide.

"But the bottom line is if it continues to cut, everybody is going to hurt," said Dixie Hurd.

For now, schools will simply have to do what they can with what they have, and look for even more ways to save money.

"I wish there was a magic pill and it would change overnight. That's the problem. Whatever happens is not going to change overnight," said Rick Loggins.

Soon, the state education department will survey every school district in the state to see what kind of impact the five percent cut is having.

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