By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6
UNDATED -- Oklahoma school districts, including Tulsa, are getting $119 million in federal funding.
The money, which comes from the federal Education Jobs Act, will be doled out district by district.
Each district's allowance was generated through the state's school funding formula. The districts are allowed to use that money for instructional salaries, benefits and support.
Liberty Public Schools will receive a little more than $100,000. Superintendent Donna Campo says the money isn't necessarily extra due to state budget cuts. She says it will be used to preserve people and programs.
Glenpool Public Schools' Superintendent Kathy Coley says the district plans to use the $397,000 to hire additional elementary teachers to reduce class sizes.
The Superintendent at Berryhill Public Schools, Mike Campbell, says they'll use their $200,000 to bring teachers back on staff that were eliminated through attrition. He says they'll be able to recoup five positions, of the seven that were cut.
And Green Country's biggest district received the biggest boost.
"First of all, we'll be using this money to add teachers back to specific isolated classrooms sizes, large class sizes, where we need to bring another teacher in," said Trish Williams, Tulsa Public Schools' Chief Financial Officer.
Tulsa Public Schools will be buoyed by $7.6 million.
"I kind of think of it as a safety net for this year and next. And it's just important that we are very judicious in how we use that safety net in how we make those decisions on staffing," said Williams.
About 22 teachers are in the process of being rehired thanks to the funds.
Federal law says the districts can spend some or all of the funds this fiscal year, but it all must be spent by September 30, 2012.
The schools aren't wasting any time.
"We'll start using it right now actually. Those teaching positions have been approved and we're in the process of hiring for those schools and classrooms immediately," Williams said.
State Superintendent Sandy Garret says the funding comes at a critical time when schools are struggling with record enrollment and $200 million less in state funding.