OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ An emergency funding bill approved by the Senate Monday will restore $25.5 million to public schools that were hit with more budget cuts than other areas of government.
Gov. Brad Henry had requested the supplemental funding, which was approved by the House last week.
Lawmakers dipped into the constitutional Rainy Day Fund for the money, leaving it with a balance of $11 million.
School budgets have been cut by 7.75% for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. Part of the cut is attributed to declining sales tax revenue earmarked for schools.
Restoration of the $25.5 million reduces the budget cut for schools to 6.5%, the same as other agencies, said Sen. Herbert Rozell, D-Tahlequah, chairman of the Senate appropriations subcommittee on education.
Senators approved the bill, 41-4, sending it to Henry, who was in Washington, D.C. attending the National Governor's Conference.
Senate President Pro Tem Cal Hobson, D-Lexington, said the $25.5 million ``will simply reduce the size of the funding reductions our schools face. Education, health, public safety, transportation and every other area of state government still face dramatic cuts that could eventually touch every single family in this state one way or another.''
Hobson has proposed a 1-cent temporary sales tax increase to provide $320 million a year for schools and other services.