Oklahoma Schools Struggle With Budget Decisions

Tuesday, April 12th 2016, 9:40 pm
By: News On 6

More than 1,000 jobs could be lost with already large class sizes increased.

Those are just a couple of the findings from a state survey regarding budget cut plans for Oklahoma Schools.

Since January, schools have felt more than $50 million in budget cuts and expect the cuts to continue.

One superintendent called the findings released Tuesday heartbreaking.

A few of the responses the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration received when it asked districts how the budget cuts will impact them include: depleting cash reserves, forced closures, the elimination of arts and athletics, four-day school weeks.

"Are you kidding me? At a time when our kids need more and more resources we are going to take more away from them,” stated Sand Springs Superintendent Lloyd Snow.

Snow says the district expects a $1.6 million cut next year.

It could lose up to 40 people, from teachers to support staff.

"We are having to prepare for the worst and hope for the best," said Snow.

More than half of Oklahoma school districts responded to the survey saying their options include reducing employee benefits, eliminating field trips, as well as reducing advanced and language courses.

There is a push by some lawmakers to cap next year’s cuts at no more than five percent.

Snow says, either way, a state decision needs to be made soon so districts can accurately prepare.

“So we will be telling our temporary teachers we can’t tell you anything,” said Snow. “What is that going to do?  Drive them to other districts and drive them out of state at a time when there is a teacher shortage."

Jenks Public Schools are anticipating almost $4 million in cuts, eliminating district contracts and reducing some department budgets.

Union expects to lose 40 positions district wide, happening naturally through attrition, things like early retirement incentives.

Click the following link to view the full survey: Schools Struggling with Budget Decisions Amid Financial Uncertainty