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FROM THE DESK OF

Terry L. Simpson

Superintendent of Schools

 


School Funding Near Bottom

 

by: CLIFTON ADCOCK World Staff Writer

Friday, May 21, 2010

5/21/2010 5:56:38 AM

Tulsa World

 

Oklahoma ranks 49th among states and the District of Columbia in total

and instructional funding per-pupil in public schools, according to a

report by the U.S. Department of Education"s National Center for

Education Statistics.

 

According to the report, which examined data from the 2007-2008 school

year, the state spent about $7,683 per pupil, with only Utah and Idaho

spending less.

 

The national average for per- pupil spending was $10,297, the report states.

 

Of that $7,683 total, 58 percent was spent on instruction, 6 percent on

food services and almost 1 percent on enterprise operations such as

after-school activities or bookstore fees. Thirty-six percent went

toward support services - such as transportation, maintenance and

administration, according to the report.

 

The report also showed that Oklahoma ranked 27th in the nation for

student enrollment in public schools.

 

State Superintendent Sandy Garrett said the numbers, taken prior to the

economic downturn that has caused many schools to slash spending

dramatically and let teachers go, are striking.

 

"Unfortunately, this new report confirms what we knew to be the case

even before our state experienced an economic downturn: We rank dead

last in our region in what we invest in the schooling of children and

nearly dead last in the country," said State Superintendent Sandy

Garrett said.

 

"Oklahoma ranking 27th in student enrollment also is notable, because it

affirms citizens are putting their faith and trust in this state"s

public school system."

 

Garrett said that Oklahoma schools were serving 10,000 more students

this year, compared to the previous school year, and 20,000 more since 2006.

 

After a year of harsh cuts in education, the Legislature announced

Tuesday that common education spending for the next school year would be

cut by 2.9 percent.

 

While that number is smaller than the 10 percent cut anticipated,

several school districts say they are taking it with a grain of salt.

 

Broken Arrow Superintendent Gary Gerber said the numbers prove that more

needs to be done to fund education in Oklahoma.

 

"Although I applaud the Legislature for trying to protect us on this,

they"re going to have to do more," Gerber said.

 

"We have got to get to the point where education is at the proper level

of importance in this state, and we"re failing to do that."

 

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