Education Funding

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education is considering legal action against the legislature for underfunding education.

Board member Mark Mann said the Oklahoma Legislature puts mandates on schools without giving them enough money to fulfill the obligations, which he says creates unfunded liabilities for Oklahoma City Public Schools and other districts across the state.

A version of this story was first posted by member station WBEZ.

State money to public schools across Illinois could be cut off due to yet another budget impasse between lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner.

On Tuesday, Rauner, a Republican, partially vetoed a bill to overhaul the state's school funding formula, denouncing it a "bailout" of Chicago Public Schools.

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Victor A. Pozadas

A new report from the Brookings Institution says Oklahoma City is positioned for growth. It says the city has a solid layer of infrastructure essential for development — and diversifying the economy.

But there’s a threat to this development, and that’s a potentially weak workforce. Some researchers say local officials need to ensure schools provide the training innovative companies need. And they need to be doing it now.

About exactly a year ago we brought you the story of Shawn Sheehan, Oklahoma's 2016 Teacher of the Year.

At the time, he and about 40 other educators were running for office in the state, wanting to make a change because, as Sheehan puts it, lawmakers weren't prioritizing education. Funding for schools in the state has been cut tremendously over the past decade and teachers in Oklahoma are some of the lowest paid in the country.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the dire situation at the Department of Corrections according to Director Joe Allbaugh, the state faces a lawsuit by car dealers over a tax increase on the sale of new motor vehicles as well as a suit by Republican candidate for Governor Gary Richardson over other issues in the budget passed last month by lawmakers.

okcps.org

The Oklahoma City Public School Board of Education meeting was packed with angry community members on Monday night.

Many people in the crowd felt the district was being dishonest about a proposal to close a local elementary school.

Last Wednesday, OKCPS administrators released information about their proposal to close North Highlands Elementary in northeast Oklahoma City, just five days before the school board was set to vote on it.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Residents of Oklahoma City will soon be asked if they support raising their own income tax, in order to increase funding for city schools.

Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid, along with other concerned community members, announced this morning they will soon circulate two initiative petitions.

Each petition will seek a 0.25% increase in the income tax rate. If the group gathers enough petition signatures, the measures will go to a vote of the people in a special election.

A bill that seeks to increase the lottery's contribution to education funding is heading to the Governor Mary Fallin's desk.

By law, the Oklahoma lottery gives 35 percent of its profits to education. But officials from the Oklahoma Lottery Commission say this mandate is actually stifling the amount of money that goes to schools.

They say it limits their ability to award large cash prizes, and so a lot of people don't play.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Superintendents across Oklahoma are begging lawmakers to do something about school funding. Ultimately, school officials want more money, but that requires raising taxes, which is a tough thing to do in Oklahoma—for many reasons. However, this year, solutions are popping up in unexpected places.

The Superintendent of Ponca City Public Schools, David Pennington, said if education funding is cut next year he is going to have to drastically change the way his school functions.  

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