In 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
SoonerCare providers get smaller rate cuts, but warn it’s not enough: SoonerCare providers won’t lose as much as they had expected to, but neither they nor the state board that pays them were satisfied with going halfway. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority lost $70 million when the state Supreme Court struck down the $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax. A budget bill at the end of the special session in November restored $22.8 million for the authority, which oversees Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, called SoonerCare [NewsOK]. McCall ousts OHCA chairman [Journal Record]. Frequently asked questions about Oklahoma’s special session [OK Policy].
Governor Pushes For Consolidation, But School Leaders Say ‘Administration’ Isn’t Waste: Education leaders in Oklahoma say Gov. Mary Fallin’s executive order on school consolidation oversimplified a very complicated issue. The November 21 order directs school districts that don’t spend at least 60 percent of their budget on instruction to consolidate administrative staff with other districts. A strict interpretation of this rule would force most Oklahoma school districts to cut an administrator, or a support staff person, and then find a way to split that cost with a neighboring district [StateImpact Oklahoma]. Oklahoma still leads the nation for cuts to education [OK Policy]. Two big myths that distort Oklahoma’s education funding debate [OK Policy].
Can small-town Oklahoma be saved by its immigrants? When Soila Medina arrived in rural Texas County, Oklahoma, in the 1990s, the seventh-grader, daughter of two Mexican immigrants, looked around her classroom and saw hardly anybody who looked like her. That is no longer the case. The schools in Guymon, the county seat, are now 70 percent Hispanic and have expanded English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for their students, who at home speak some 27 different languages, from Armenian and Arabic to Burmese and Tagalog [OZY]. The average Oklahoman probably doesn’t know much about Texas County, OK (other than that it is next to Texas) [OK Policy].
continue reading In The Know: SoonerCare providers get smaller rate cuts, but warn it’s not enough