Superintendent: Budget Cuts ‘Worst Financial Crisis To OK Schools In Decades’
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma - Green Country school superintendents describe the state’s most recent round of budget cuts as the worst financial crisis facing Oklahoma schools in decades.
In total, $47 million is being cut, and superintendents all over the state are searching for solutions. They say it will impact school lunches, buses, professional development, and extracurricular activities - nearly every area in education.
Oklahoma's budget failure caused the Oklahoma Board of Education to cut millions last week. Now, school districts are cutting back.
Tulsa Public Schools will reduce its spending this school year by $2.1 million. Broken Arrow Public Schools says its loss will total about a million dollars. Claremore will lose nearly $800,000; Owasso, $750,000; Jenks, $670,000; and Sand Springs, $350,000 - just to name a few.
State School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister told News On 6 Monday, she knew there would be cuts, but thought they would come next year.
"Districts would have to go right into their budgets that currently are for this year, with contracts already in place, services already provided and bills that need to be paid," she said.
And, according to her, this isn't the end.
Hofmeister said, "It looks like there will be yet another cut this spring to this semester."
That cut could be $20 million or more.
Hofmeister expects bigger class sizes and fewer courses offered.
The Owasso superintendent said the district was going to hire 15 teachers in the fall but won't now. Claremore Public Schools has cut support activities, like AP teacher training and staff development.
Broken Arrow Superintendent Dr. Jarod Mendenhall released a statement saying, "It is imperative that our state leaders resolve this financial crisis...We cannot let our students suffer because the adults failed to plan properly."
At a meeting Thursday night, the Sand Springs superintendent said he's offering a "menu of misery," asking parents to look at all of the district's programs to help choose which have to be cut - a task no one wants to do.