In this file photo, a Putnam City High School student holds textbooks in the school's hallway. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)

Funding to secure the main student information system and to hire hundreds of school counselors to address students’ trauma were key issues in an education budget totalling nearly $3.2 billion approved by the state Board of Education on Thursday. 

The budget request, which is for fiscal year 2022, includes $1 million in supplemental funding to rewrite WAVE, the main student information system, which is 10 years old. The system includes private student information and is vulnerable to cyber attacks. 

The Department of Education also renewed an initiative to hire 350 school counselors at a cost of $18 million, which the legislature did not appropriate funds for last year. The need is even more dire now considering the impact of COVID-19 on students, the Department said.

Appropriations for education totalled just under $3 billion for FY 2021. 

“We are presenting a budget that is respectful of where we are but it is definitely one that we know does not fully encompass what our classroom teachers and what our  families want and need for their children in public school,” said Joy Hofmeister, state superintendent of public instruction. 

The budget was approved unanimously as part of the board’s monthly meeting and will be presented to the state Legislature in the spring.

Other details from the meeting:

Jennifer Palmer has been a reporter with Oklahoma Watch since 2016 and covers education. Contact her at (405) 761-0093 or Follow her on Twitter @jpalmerOKC.

Support our publication

Every day we strive to produce journalism that matters — stories that strengthen accountability and transparency, provide value and resonate with readers like you.

This work is essential to a better-informed community and a healthy democracy. But it isn’t possible without your support.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.