The hot topic in education is the $40 million headed back to the state education budget.
Wednesday, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister talked about it with superintendents from 40 school districts within the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and folks in Owasso.
One of Hofmeister's stops Wednesday was at the Owasso Tulsa Tech campus where she spoke with business leaders about the state of education in Oklahoma.
Owasso Chamber president, Gary Askins said, "I don't know another topic that we are more unified on than quality education."
Hofmeister spoke with educators, parents and others about their concerns.
“Listening is very important,” the state superintendent said. “Understanding what needs to be addressed is critical."
And many agree that education is critical for Oklahoma's economy.
Askins said, “It all starts with education. You must have an educated workforce in order to attract the jobs that we want in Owasso, in our region and throughout the state of Oklahoma."
Hofmeister's biggest concerns are more school districts going to four-day weeks and not enough teachers.
She said, while the $40 million budget cut, which is now returning, will go back into programs, that money won't really address more pressing issues like the teacher shortage.
"We're operating on the same dollars as 2008 yet we have over 50,000 more students right now to serve," Hofmeister said. "Treading water is not an education policy, we can't afford to tread water, we've got to keep moving forward."
She said the good news is that voters are engaged and education is getting some of the attention it deserves.