OKLAHOMA CITY (October 25, 2018) – The Oklahoma State Board of Education agreed today to ask the State Legislature for just under a half billion dollars more in funding for Fiscal Year 2020.
In a news release, OSDE reported that the board approved a request of $3.35 billion for common education, which includes an increase of more than $440.6 million. The state agency says the ask is to help reduce class sizes and boost instruction funding after years of budget cuts.
“Budgets reflect priorities. This budget represents a strategic investment for students and teachers,” said Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “While a significant step forward, the teacher pay raise was not enough to stem the teacher shortage or meet the pressing needs of a growing student population. Increasing instructional dollars must be Oklahoma’s next step forward.”
This year’s requested increase includes restoring $253 million to the state funding formula. The additional operational dollars are intended to reduce class sizes and restore classroom resources.
The budget request also includes $58 million for a School Counselor Corps. The corps would assist in providing the supports students need in elementary, middle and high school.
The agency also wants to spend the money for Individual Career Academic Planning, or ICAP. ICAP, which is being piloted in more than 70 districts, would be a graduation requirement for students who enter ninth grade in the 2019-20 school year.
“Our children deserve to be ready for success after high school. The role of the school counselor can make an enduring and life-changing impact,” Hofmeister said.
OSDE says the counselor corps will help support students who have incidences of childhood trauma including bullying, family violence, substance abuse and other challenges.
The FY 20 budget request also includes an additional $79 million for Support of Students and Teachers, a line item that directly impacts classroom programs and investments. Key areas to receive additional funding include:
- Alternative education programs to reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates
- School support, to provide resources facilitating rapid improvement
- Returning a competitive grants pool that will increase district access to a variety of reading, math, robotics and other student success programs
- Early childhood programs
- Supports for struggling readers
- Professional development for educators and support staff