Bixby Parents Concerned With State Of Education After More Cuts Announced

Thursday, March 3rd 2016, 11:20 pm
By: News On 6

The State ordered a second round of budget cuts Thursday. Cash-strapped state agencies will now have to find another four percent from their already bare-bone budgets.

A few months ago, they were already forced to cut three percent.

Oklahoma leaders blame low oil and gas prices for the new $235 million dollar cut; and with several months left in the fiscal year, more cuts could be coming.

3/3/2016 Related Story: Oklahoma Faces Across The Board Cuts To All State Agencies

Democrats say the situation is so bad state leaders need to use money from the Rainy Day fund. But Republicans say that's not an option right now because they may need that money for next year's budget.

Education is taking a big blow with the announcement, and with about three months of school left, parents fear the money will run out.

They said they are concerned with where that will leave the children.

Schools across Oklahoma have been working to cope with the $47 million cuts already made. By the time this fiscal year ends, about $110 million will be cut.

For months, schools have been working to develop plans to financially make it through the school year, but, as of now, the future of Oklahoma education looks a bit grim.

Bixby moms Joely Flegler and Tristy Fryer said, for the sake of their children and others, it's time to figure out the state’s financial problem and make education priority number one.

"I'm afraid it's going to get worse before it gets better," Flegler said.

Fryer said, “I’m wondering, with this cut, how much more are they gonna take and how much more are parents going to have to contribute to our children's education?"

Millions have already been cut from the state’s budget, and more millions will be cut.

Thursday, Flegler said the school sent an email to parents asking for supply contributions.

"That's what’s scary - when you get to that point where parents aren't able to give back, and maybe teachers aren't able to dig as deep into their pockets and give back," she said.

In all, this fiscal year, education will see seven percent of its budget cut.

Fryer's two children are only a few of the 700,000 that make up the Oklahoma student body, and she fears programs like music, art and sports will get the boot.

She said parents and teachers can only do so much.

“I know that our parents are talking to our administrators. We're talking to each other in our PTA meetings, trying to figure out how we can still support our teachers and our school. I've even thought, ‘Why don’t we start a GoFundMe or a tip jar just to support our teachers,’" Fryer said.

Several schools are still accepting budget management suggestions from the public. Next week, Bixby Public Schools will hold a legislative meeting for parents and leaders to brainstorm ideas.