In The Know: $47 million in cuts to education funding announced

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

Midyear budget cuts could force some Oklahoma school districts to close: Some Oklahoma school districts could be forced to close as a result of midyear cuts to public school funding, education officials warned Thursday. State Board of Education members voted unanimously to approve a $46.7 million funding cut for the fiscal year ending June 30, including a $25 million reduction in funding that goes to schools. The board made 3 percent cuts to several accounts but made a 6.6 percent cut in the public school activities account to cushion the blow to local districts, state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said [NewsOK].

Report: Oklahoma students perform poorly compared to other states: The annual Quality Counts report released Thursday by Education Week shows Oklahoma public school students performed poorly compared to most states in K-12 achievement, per-pupil spending and student chances for academic and career success. Oklahoma ranked 46th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia with an overall score of 68.2 out of 100 points and received a grade of D-plus, according to the report, which tracks key education indicators and grades states on their performance and outcomes [NewsOK].

Oklahoma Revenue Figures Drop Over Previous Year For First Time Since Recession: New figures out Thursday morning show gross receipts to the state treasury over the past year were down for first time in nearly seven years. Collections shrank by nearly 16 percent from 2008 to 2009, largely affected by the global economic crisis known as the Great Recession. Calendar year growth ranged from 2.5 percent to 9.6 percent between 2010 and 2014 [KGOU].

What you can do with your tax cut: On January 1st, Oklahoma made the latest in a series of cuts to the top income tax rate. The cut is happening even though we are facing a massive budget hole and a mid-year revenue failure. With the help of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, we’ve created an online calculator that estimates how much you can expect from this year’s tax cut [OK Policy].

Two Left Shoes And Oklahoma’s Revenue Failure: Back in my college days, I had a class comparing economic systems from around the world. It was my first real exposure to the inefficiencies of Soviet industrial manufacturing and provided specific examples of factories that produced goods according to the demands of the government and not to the needs of its citizens. Supply bore no relationship to demand and factories did ridiculous things like make left shoes only because the quota requirements focused on the number of shoes and not the number of pairs produced or customer satisfaction. Oklahoma voters have installed their own model of inefficiency [Rep. David Perryman / Oklahoma Observer].

Growth in Prison Population Persists: Despite efforts to reduce incarceration, Oklahoma’s prison population is growing at a defiantly steady pace. The trend includes a surge of hundreds of state inmates being held in county jails and the rate of women in prison reaching its highest recorded level. Oklahoma Department of Corrections data show that since late 2014, a year when early-release policies were relaxed to help reduce incarceration, the number of inmates in corrections facilities has increased by nearly 1,200, reaching 28,095 near the end of 2015 [Oklahoma Watch].

More alleged victims of Oklahoma City process server come forward: More women have come forward claiming an Oklahoma City process server sexually assaulted them while on the job, according to state investigators. Robert Vincent Wonsch, 34, of Moore, was arrested Monday and booked into the Cleveland County jail after the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation interviewed several women who said Wonsch forced himself on them or tried to intimidate or persuade them into performing sex acts by offering them discounted services or flashing a gun and badge [NewsOK]. 

Former FEMA Chief Named As Interim Director Of Oklahoma Dept. Of Corrections: A former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be the new interim director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. The Board of Corrections named Joe Allbaugh to the post at its meeting on Thursday in McAlester. Allbaugh currently owns his own consulting firm and was Texas Governor Rick Perry’s campaign manager during the 2012 presidential election [KGOU].

Don’t mix politics with judges: Oklahoma’s court system is not broken, despite comments to the contrary by a few politicians. My appointment to the Judicial Nominating Commission by Gov. Mary Fallin two years ago has provided first-hand knowledge of the selection process for Oklahoma’s judges. Those two years have made me proud to serve and even prouder of my fellow commission members who take their job seriously and gladly donate their time to vetting and recommending judicial candidates to the governor [Steve Turnbo / Tulsa World].

Costly catastrophes: Floods, tornadoes put Oklahoma on billion-disaster list for 2015: By the time the books closed on 2015, there wasn’t much of Oklahoma that hadn’t been under water, covered in ice or carved up by tornadoes at some point during the year. Four Oklahoma weather events made the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s billion-dollar disasters list for 2015. The list, released Thursday, includes the year’s 10 weather and climate events that resulted in more than $1 billion in losses each [NewsOK].

32 Oklahoma quakes in 24-hour period could foretell stronger temblor, experts say: A rash of 32 earthquakes that shook the state Wednesday night and Thursday increases the likelihood that Oklahoma will experience a higher-magnitude quake, Jeremy Boak, director of the Oklahoma Geological Survey, said Thursday. Two large earthquakes — one that tied for fourth largest in state history — struck near a town in northwestern Oklahoma less than a minute apart Wednesday night and were followed by 30 smaller quakes through Thursday evening [Tulsa World].

Quote of the Day

“We do know that some school districts are going to have a very difficult time remaining open.”

– State Superintendent of Schools Joy Hofmeister, announcing $47 million in midyear cuts to Oklahoma school districts as a result of the state’s revenue failure (Source)

Number of the Day


Percent change in monthly food stamp participation in Oklahoma, Aug. 2014 – Aug. 2015. Oklahoma was one of 10 states where participation increased over the time period.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Elder Hunger: New Efforts To Combat Surprisingly Common Malnutrition Among Seniors: After her stroke, a 95-year-old woman in New York State found that she could no longer taste her food. She was also unable to feel hunger, so she didn’t know when she was supposed to eat. As a result, the woman began losing weight, grew weak and wasn’t getting the nutrients she needed. Enter Meals on Wheels, a national home-delivered meals program established by the 1965 Older Americans Act. The woman (who asked that her name not be used) began receiving meals at her home five days a week. This, she says, helped her remember to eat regularly. Her weight improved, and so did her general health [WBUR].

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Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

One thought on “In The Know: $47 million in cuts to education funding announced

  1. 20 years ago Cal Hobson and Dwayne Steidley led a sentencing commission that warned that, left unreformed, corrections would suck down all the money that should go to public schools, universities, infrastructure, and other essential needs for a viable state. Governor Fallin has presided over the present day spelled out in all these news stories, proclaimed herself “smart on crime,” and had appointed a political operative to spin the future into shinola. When OK’s obituary is written, and that day is coming very soon now, this column of news posts is all that will be needed so please archive. You won’t need to keep it all that long.

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