In The Know: Oklahoma leads the nation in school funding cuts

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

Today you should know that per student funding of Oklahoma’s K-12 education formula is down 22.8 percent since 2008 – the largest percentage cut of any state.  A Republican state senator wants to require mandatory counseling before a couple can file for divorce.

A state Senate panel discussed youth homelessness and the vulnerability of kids who ‘age out’ of foster care.  While geophysicists have linked Oklahoma’s largest earthquake to an injection well, the state is using “best practices” suggestions rather than enforcement action to address the risk of manmade earthquakes.

Despite a wetter and cooler summer, all of Oklahoma is still under drought and some parts of the state continue to experience severe and exceptional drought.  The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S. has nearly doubled since 2002.  Bixby Youth Football, comprised of players ranging from first to seventh grade, is getting national attention for raffling off tickets saying winners will receive a handgun.

Tulsa City councilors are considering a multimillion-dollar incentive program to attract more big-box retailers.  M. Scott Carter writes in the The Journal Record about the state’s progress improving veterans’ long-term care centers.  Kiwash Electric Cooperative will receive more than $10M in loans from the USDA to help modernize western Oklahoma’s power grid.

In today’s Policy Note, Good Jobs First explained how ‘big-box’ development undermines local business and sticks taxpayers with the tab for employees who end up needing public assistance because their working wages are so low.  The Number of the Day is the amount per student cut from K-12 education in Oklahoma between 2008 and 2014.

In The News

Report: Oklahoma has made the deepest school funding cuts in the nation
A new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that Oklahoma has made the deepest cuts to school funding in the nation since the start of the recession. The report is a follow-up of last year’s study that showed Oklahoma’s per pupil spending cuts were third highest in the nation.

Read more from Oklahoma Policy Institute

Okla. senator eyes divorce counseling requirement
A Republican state senator who wants to reduce Oklahoma’s high divorce rate said Tuesday he’s mulling a plan to require mandatory counseling before a couple can file for divorce in the state. Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, the vice chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee, held an interim study on the topic because the state continues to land near the top of U.S. rankings for its divorce rate, which costs states hundreds of millions of dollars each year in societal costs.

Read more from Associated Press

Options for homeless young adults eyed
The Department of Human Services needs more options for young adults who age out of the system, he said. “For a lot of these kids, there is no safety net,” Mitchell said. Once she began receiving help from Youth Services, Mitchell said she had to learn how to break out of survival mode and to trust people.

Read more from NewsOK

Regulator Responding to Risk of Injection Well Earthquakes With Suggestions, Not Rules or Laws
Geophysicists have linked Oklahoma’s largest earthquake to an injection well used by the oil and gas industry, and there is growing concern among many seismologists that underground disposal of oilfield waste fluid can trigger quakes or make it easier for faults to slip.


State still feeling effects of drought
According to the monitor’s status update regarding the state of Oklahoma, drought conditions here range from severe in the eastern and central portions of the state, where rain has been more plentiful this summer, to exceptional drought in parts of far southwestern Oklahoma.

Read more from Woodward News

Hispanic-owned businesses double from 2002 to 2013
The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S. is expected to nearly double this year from 2002. That’s the finding of a study released Friday by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Geoscape, a company that provides demographics data. The study, which analyzed U.S. census data and other information, projected there would be nearly 3.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the country in 2013, up from nearly 1.7 million in 2002.

Read more from Associated Press

Okla. youth program raffles chance to buy a gun
Football players are taught at a young age what plays they can run out of the shotgun or pistol formations. Now a youth football league in Oklahoma is making waves for raffling off tickets saying the winner would get a handgun. Bixby Youth Football president Jason Clark said the tickets should have been more clear: The winner got a gift certificate to a gun store, but did not have to buy a gun.

Read more from Associated Press

City of Tulsa eyes incentives for big-box retailers
City councilors are considering a multimillion-dollar incentive program aimed at making Tulsa more competitive with surrounding cities in attracting big-box retailers. “Everyone, it seems, is looking for incentives, and really to be competitive you’ve got to have those incentives to offer up,” Economic Development Director Clay Bird told councilors Thursday.

Read more from Tulsa World

Zero tolerance for abuse of veterans
For two years now, lawmakers and agency officials have worked to improve the veterans system and better protect those frail soldiers who call the long-term care centers home. But that work, no matter how honest the effort, can be undone by one aide bent on breaking the rules. This fall, the Oklahoma Senate will continue its study of the veterans system. Simpson has said on more than one occasion that improving services for those Oklahomans who served in the military is his life’s work.

Read more from The Journal Record

Okla. electric cooperative awarded more than $10M
A western Oklahoma electric cooperative will receive a more than $10 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Thursday that Kiwash Electric Cooperative, Inc. in Cordell will receive $10,127,000. The money is to be used to build 178 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan includes $74,000 for smart grid projects.

Read more from Associated Press

Quote of the Day

“For a lot of these kids, there is no safety net.”

Jessica Mitchell, Youth Services of Tulsa, on youth who are homeless and/or ‘aged-out’ of the foster care system

Number of the Day


Amount per student cut from K-12 education in Oklahoma between 2008 and 2014

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities via Oklahoma Policy Institute

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Big-Box Swindle: The True Costs of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses
The upstream of a big-box store creates very few jobs for the local economy (i.e., Made in China), and the downstream ripple effects are terrible because retail jobs are overwhelmingly part-time and poverty-wage, with no health care. That means most retail workers have very small disposable incomes: after paying for bare necessities, they have little left with which to stimulate the local economy. Building new retail space just moves sales and lousy jobs around. It doesn’t grow the economy.

Read more from Good Jobs First

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One thought on “In The Know: Oklahoma leads the nation in school funding cuts

  1. Comparing to Maryland public schools; Oklahoma public schools have 214,311 less students and 15,848 less teachers and 388 MORE SCHOOLS and 500 MORE SCHOOL DISTRICTS. Do the math, if you are capable!!!
    If it weren’t for the AFT I’m sure teachers would be forced to strike to build wages to be about the lowest in the western world. We value education…and it shows !

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