Educators Waiting For Budget

Wednesday, April 9th 2008, 6:37 pm
By: News On 6

A cloud of uncertainty hangs over state schools Wednesday tonight. Thursday is the deadline for districts to renew teacher contracts. Many are cutting jobs since they don't know what the budget looks like for next year. Lawmakers have yet to approve an education funding plan, more than a week after their deadline. News On 6's Amy Lester reports many educators are frustrated and angry.

Officials say there's a crisis right now in education. A crisis forcing districts to not renew teacher contracts even though they need them in the classrooms.

Officials say no budget in place for next year makes it a very difficult situation for financial management of schools districts. They say that's why we're seeing teacher layoffs across the state.

The executive director of the Oklahoma School Boards Association says there's no excuse for not funding education by the April, 1 deadline; the very deadline lawmakers voted to enact themselves.

There's nothing in the law that forces lawmakers to follow their self imposed deadline. This year, they just didn't finish negotiating the education budget in time.

Those involved in the budget negotiations say it's not as easy as it seems, especially this time around.

Officials say this year has been complicated because they need to make sure there are adequate funds for the needs of all the agencies before they can agree on the education budget.

The budget negotiations started on day one of the session. Lawmakers say they should have an education budget soon.

Lawmakers say education is a priority. The State Senate just passed a bill that includes $19 million in emergency funding for education.