The 5 percent funding cut to all state agencies announced this week also will make an impact on Norman Public Schools.

Fortunately, the district isn't taking as hard a hit as many other agencies.

Because the State Department of Education received revenue collections in July but did not have to give an aid payment that month, Oklahoma schools received only a 2.74 percent cut in funding, state superintendent Sandy Garrett said in a press release Thursday.

That's still a big cut for Norman, though.

"That's approximately a $75,000-$80,000 hit for Norman Public Schools," superintendent Joe Siano said. He said making up that lost revenue will be "a challenge," but the district does have reserves built in to deal with emergencies such as this.

"We'll absorb this month's reductions with our reserve funds," Siano said. However, he said it would be an even greater challenge to the district if state funding cuts continue every month this year.

Garrett said if cuts to the Department of Education continue next month, the department would have to pass on the full cuts -- whether 5 percent or more or less -- to all school districts.

Five percent cuts would mean about $2 million in funding that Norman Public Schools would not receive for school year 2009-2010, Siano said.

The district is being very conservative on spending for the school year, he said. But Siano said the district is committed to its staff and programs and would not look to cut those this year.

If the funding cuts continue every month this year, however, he said next year's school budget would be impacted.

"We'll have to look at every possible aspect of the budget -- including staff," Siano said.

Julianna Parker Jones 366-3541

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