In The Know: State forced to reallocate funds despite general revenue bump

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

State forced to reallocate funds despite general revenue bump: The state will have to draw from reserves to meet cash flow requirements this month, officials said Tuesday, despite general revenue deposits that exceeded expectations by almost 8 percent. [Tulsa World]

2016 Oklahoma Poverty Profile: Since 2008, Oklahoma’s poverty rate has been higher than the national average, and that didn’t change in 2016. In fact, the gap between Oklahoma and the nation widened a bit in the most recent years. [OK Policy]

School enrollment continues to grow despite budget crunch: Despite having less money in the budget, the Oklahoma State Department of Education says that student enrollment continues to rise. Officials say 694,816 students were enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade at the start of the school year, which is about 1,000 more than last year. [KFOR] State aid funding for schools has not kept up with enrollment [OK Policy]

Prosperity Policy: Do it again: The eight-week special session earlier this fall produced plenty of disappointment and acrimony, but didn’t produce an agreement on how to fix the budget. So why, with the holidays and regular session in February, do it again? [David Blatt/Journal Record]

Oklahoma Missing the Mark on Tobacco Prevention Spending: A report released Wednesday by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids said Oklahoma’s spending on tobacco prevention isn’t up to snuff. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the state spend $42.3 million dollars on tobacco prevention programs. [Public Radio Tulsa] The progressive case for increasing the cigarette tax [OK Policy]

How a Gas Leak Became a Family Tragedy In a State That Fought Industry Regulation: The idea that states have robust regulatory bodies able to deal with environmental issues has long been a staple of Scott Pruitt’s argument against the federal government stepping in. But there are some big holes in that philosophy.  [Earther]

Get a plan before next session: A second special session of Oklahoma’s Legislature will end as the first — with no agreement on a way to plug a $215 million shortfall in the state budget. That’s unless there is a better plan going into the second session called by Gov. Mary Fallin. [Editorial Board/Muskogee Phoenix]

Generous donors pay off student lunch balances at two Oklahoma schools: Paying for school lunches can be a struggle for some Oklahoma families, leaving some children without a hot meal. When a student cannot pay for lunch, they can charge up to two lunches and one breakfast on their account. [KFOR] Community Eligibility Can Help Make Oklahoma Schools Hunger-Free [OK Policy]

Federal court revives lawsuit over Oklahoma prison conditions: A federal appeals court has revived an inmate’s lawsuit alleging conditions at a state prison violated his constitutional rights. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down the ruling Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by Joseph Womble, 32, who’s serving an 11-year sentence out of Tulsa County for first-degree robbery. [AP] The effects of budget cuts on Oklahoma prisons are hidden but dangerous [OK Policy]

Officials could have known in September about Health Department crisis: State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones will voluntarily testify to a House committee Thursday about when he told senior executive branch officials that something was amiss at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.  His testimony could contradict earlier claims that Gov. Mary Fallin’s advisers didn’t know the significance of the problems until late October. [The Oklahoman]

List of locations where meals, snacks to be provided to students during winter break: Oklahoma City students who participate in the free and reduced-price school meal program at their school can still access good, nutritious food during the winter break. [KFOR] Schools use food trucks to fight food insecurity during summer months [OK Policy]

Fracking Can Stunt the Growth of Your Baby: A new study from the journal Science Advances found that infants born to women living near fracking sites in Pennsylvania were especially vulnerable to adverse health outcomes.  [Mother Jones]

Quote of the Day

“Once again, Oklahoma schools are educating more students than ever before with few new resources. Funding has not kept pace with the steady rise in enrollment over the past decade, the growing diversity of Oklahoma’s student population or the decrease of trained educators entering the profession. We will continue to advocate for teacher pay raises and adequate funding levels to meet the needs of all Oklahoma schoolchildren.”

Joy Hoffmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction (Source)

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma families with children that had income below the poverty threshold in 2016.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

GAO report sounds alarm about vouchers and students with disabilities: Across the country, thousands of children attend private schools through publicly funded voucher programs and education savings accounts, with states giving money directly to parents to spend at a school of their choice. But parents sacrifice legal safeguards if their child with a disability attends a private school through these programs, according to a report released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office. Protections that require public schools to provide speech therapy, tutoring and specialized education plans do not apply to private schools [Washington Post]

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Courtney Cullison worked for OK Policy from 2017 to 2020 as a policy analyst focused on issues of economic opportunity and financial security. Before coming to OK Policy, Courtney worked in higher education, holding faculty positions at the University of Texas at Tyler and at Connors State College in eastern Oklahoma. A native Oklahoman, she received an Honors B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. with emphasis in congressional politics and public policy from the University of Oklahoma. While at OU, Courtney was a fellow at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center. As a professor she taught classes in American politics, public policy, and research methods and conducted original research with a focus on the relationship between representatives and the constituents they serve.

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