The Norman Transcript

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May 3, 2013

Education budget sees $91 million fund increase

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s Common Education budget will see $91 million in new funds, according to details released at the Capitol Thursday.

A $17 million portion of this sum is assigned to supplemental funds for fiscal year 2013, accounting for health insurance, expenditures and ad valorem reimbursement.

Though educators expressed gratitude for the work and advocacy certain legislators put in to acchieving this sum, State Superintendent Janet Barresi and Norman Superintendent Joe Siano said they shared a feeling that there is more work to be done.

“We appreciate the $91 million commitment to common education and the promise to fund education reforms,” Barresi said.

“Unfortunately, this does not meet all the needs of school districts or account for the growing population of students in the state in total.

“We are thankful, however, that common education is a priority of our lawmakers.

“Historically, common education receives about 35 percent of the state budget. With this budget deal, we received 43 percent of the new money available.”

Districts across the state have yet to receive word on how exactly the $74 million will be distributed, and Siano said he expects the end result to be a flat budget.

“I appreciate the legislators who fought for this, but we have to be clear and honest that $74 million is a public education system that $220 million below 2008 levels is still sorely underfunded,” Siano said.

“I see a flat budget and hopefully this is a down payment to bring us closer to 2008 funding levels.”

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