Superintendent Hofmeister asks Gov. Fallin, lawmakers for supplemental funds amid education funding cuts

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 4, 2016) – In the wake of yesterday’s declaration of a second General Revenue failure since December 2015, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister and the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) have requested $56.2 million in emergency supplemental funding.
The request is an effort to, in part, alleviate a mandated $62.3 million funding cut in the second revenue failure for Fiscal Year 2016. That 4-percent reduction is part of across-the-board cuts announced Thursday by Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger.
To date, preK-12 public education has been hit by more than $109 million in funding cuts.
Hofmeister’s request today would offset cuts in three of five affected preK-12 funding streams: the funding formula (also known as Financial Support of Public Schools) and two funds that cover health insurance -- otherwise known as Flexible Benefit Allowance (FBA) -- for teachers and support personnel.
“We do not make this request lightly,” said Hofmeister. “Amid this dire budget crisis, every state dollar is precious. But we must do everything in our power to shield children in the classroom from the negative impact of nearly $40 million in cuts to the funding formula this late in the school year.”
The request includes $16 million for FBA costs that the State of Oklahoma has a statutory obligation to cover.
Hofmeister made the supplemental funding request in a letter delivered today to Gov. Mary Fallin and Oklahoma House and Senate leadership.
Already this year, state public schools have weathered $46.7 million – a 3 percent cut – in reduced funding from a Dec. 23 revenue failure. Shortly thereafter, the State Board of Education approved flexibility measures in some common education line items in order to cushion the impact on the funding formula.
Additional revenue reductions to the state’s General Revenue fund, officials say, are possible in the final months of this fiscal year, and a shortfall of $1.3 billion is expected for the next, which begins July 1.
Administrators will know the specific impacts of cuts on their districts in the coming days. The OSDE today posted adjusted State Aid formula allocations. The remainder of the adjusted allocation line items is expected to be released early next week.
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Last updated on March 7, 2016