EDUCATION WATCH BLOG
Oct. 15, 2014
Oklahoma remains first in the nation for the most funding cuts made in public education since just before the Great Recession, according to a new report released Thursday.
The Center on Budget Policy and Priorities report shows Oklahoma cut per-pupil funding by 23.6 percent between 2007-2008 and 2014-2015, the largest percentage in the nation. That equals a loss of $857 per student.
The report also highlighted Oklahoma, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, North Carolina and Wisconsin as states that worsened their education funding problems by cutting personal or corporate income taxes.
Linda Hampton, president of the Oklahoma Education Association teachers union, said the report’s findings are not surprising.
“It is long past time for Oklahomans to hold politicians and policy-makers accountable for adequately funding public education for the state’s children, both at the ballot box on November 4 and beyond,” Hampton said.
While the Legislature increased education funding this year, the report found per-pupil funding is still down 0.8 percent compared with last school year.
Superintendent Janet Barresi said part of the problem is that funding increases have not kept up with the state’s needs.
“While we are slowly regaining the funding levels of previous years, we also are experiencing growth in student enrollment in our public schools, which makes for a challenge for school districts,” she said.