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Today In The News
State funding shortfall for public schools climbs to $18.1 million: Public schools learned Wednesday that their regular payment from the state of Oklahoma would be shorted for the second month in a row. The Oklahoma State Department of Education sent out a memo Wednesday ahead of Thursday payments to local schools notifying them that they will be shorted by another $8.4 million — that’s in addition to the $9.7 million they were shorted in January. The reduction in funding for schools is the result of below-estimate collections in a couple of state revenue streams that feed into state aid for common education, the primary source of state funding for public schools. [Tulsa World]
Weak Financial Accountability For Charter School Management Companies That Get Millions: With a nearly $900 million budget shortfall, Oklahoma lawmakers want accountability for every penny. But within the coffers of private charter school management companies are millions of dollars that lawmakers can’t see. Epic Virtual Charter School has about 8,000 students enrolled, and like many other charters, Epic is managed by a private company. This company, called Epic Youth Services, keeps 10 percent of all the state and federal dollars the school gets. For the 2015-2016 school year that was $2.9 million. And that $2.9 million, we don’t really know how the management company spent it, and they don’t have to disclose that information, because they’re a private company. [KOSU]
Across core services, Oklahoma underspends: State government has four core responsibilities – education, health care, public safety and transportation. It is those fundamental services on which the people depend to have productive lives. For businesses, those services done right provide an environment in which they can thrive. Analysis of data released this month by the U.S. Census Bureau, along with the most-recent data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Federal Highway Administration, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, shows that, even when adjusted for Oklahoma’s relatively low cost of living, funding for core services still lags the region and the nation. [State Treasurer Ken Miller / OK Policy]
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