NORMAN — State School Superintendent Janet Barresi wants Oklahoma public school teachers to get a $2,000 raise, but she wants local districts to find the money to pay for it.
Barresi said districts have money to pay for the raises in their carry-over funds. That may be true, but those funds are often needed to get a new spending year started before property tax money rolls in.
Districts that don’t have carry-over funds or enough of them often end up issuing non-payable warrants with banks covering the checks, much like an overdraft. When property and state tax money comes in, the districts buy back the warrants with interest.
Lawmakers that want to do something for Oklahoma’s school teachers should identify a dedicated funding source that would provide funds each year.
Temporary funding sources are appropriate for one-time expenditures. Operational expenses need to be able to budget ahead and depend on solid revenue streams.