School Superintendents Call On Oklahoma Lawmakers To Present Budget

Wednesday, April 13th 2016, 11:07 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa-area school superintendents joined together to ask Oklahoma legislators to "Fund Education First" so they know what cuts they will have to make in the state budget crisis.

They urge members of the Oklahoma legislature to present an education budget to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.

Tulsa County Area School Administrators (TCASA) said the "Fund Education First" law stipulates lawmakers present legislation to the governor to fund education each year by April 1

That date has passed.

“We can’t wait until the end of the legislative session for a budget because we need answers in order to know what to expect moving forward into the next school year,” said Jenks Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Stacey Butterfield,  president of TCASA. 

“As we try to make difficult decisions about personnel and programs, we need to have as much information as possible.”

4/12/2016 Related Story: Oklahoma Schools Struggle With Budget Decisions

Broken Arrow Public Schools Superintendent Jarod Mendenhall said even if the schools won't be fully funded, they call on legislators to provide a budget as soon as possible.

"Otherwise, districts will be forced to make cuts without clear direction in order to remain solvent and in legal compliance ourselves, which may result in cutting more positions than necessary,” Mendenhall said in a news release.

Bixby and Union School Superintendents joined in the request in a news release Wednesday.

"We must know what we are dealing with by April 30, so we can make difficult decisions," Dr. Kirt Hartzler said. Hartzler is Union School Superintendent.

He noted that the funding crisis is driving more educators from Oklahoma to seek jobs in states with better pay,more security and opportunities.

The news release came at the same time Edmond Public Schools announced they are shortening the 2015-16 school year by two days due to the state budget crisis.