The State of Oklahoma does not have enough cash on hand to pay the full monthly support checks this month to school districts.
The State Department of Education notified school districts Wednesday their monthly support checks would be cut as a result, amounting to another budget reduction after repeated cuts during the current school year.
The school system said this does not mean staff will not get paid. It means schools will have to dip into other operating funds to make up for the smaller checks from the state.
For Tulsa Public Schools, it means the state is behind on promised payments for March and April by $1,732,686. The payment is for the school ‘formula’ budget, which is the main source schools use for payroll and general operating expenses.
Districts were told the state account used to support schools was $36 million short, prompting the department to cut back payments to schools.
Tulsa Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist said “This round of reductions marks our fifth state funding cut since January - totaling $4.56 million over a three-month period. Oklahoma's education funding situation continues to be extraordinarily challenging, and the choices that districts are being forced to make are entirely unacceptable and wrong for our children, teachers, staff, and families. We remain hopeful, however, that our state leaders will take action to fix the structural deficit and begin reinvesting in our schools and in a bright future for our state.”
The new cuts amount to a two percent reduction in monthly operating funds.
For Jenks, the reductions amount to $432,538; for Union, the cut is $777,466; for Bixby, it’s $191,256; for Sand Springs it’s $299,441. For Broken Arrow, the reduction is $904,852.
The list of cuts for other Tulsa County districts is listed on the PDF below; the list of cuts made statewide is here.