Oklahoma school funding cuts among worst in U.S.

Contact: David Blatt, (918) 794-3944, dblatt@okpolicy.org

Since 2008, Oklahoma’s public school spending per student has dropped by more than 20 percent, according to new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). Oklahoma’s education cuts were the third deepest in the nation, behind only Arizona and Alabama.

“These cuts put our future poperity at risk,” said David Blatt, director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute. “Businesses need a well-educated workforce, and we are shooting ourselves in the foot by reducing our investment in education.”

Due to four straight years of budget cuts or flat funding, Oklahoma is spending $706 less per student in fiscal year 2013 than in fiscal year 2008. In the most recent year, spending per student declined by $49, or 1.7 percent, because schools received flat funding despite a larger enrollment.

“We are past the recession and the economy is growing again, but cuts to schools have not stopped,” said Blatt.

The CBPP report shows how K-12 education cuts are hurting Oklahoma’s economy in the short- and long-term. The cuts have slowed the pace of economic recovery by causing both public- and private-sector job losses. More than 4,000 jobs were eliminated Oklahoma’s elementary and secondary schools from 2009 to 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Over the long-term, education cuts undermine the state’s ability to produce workers with the skills needed to compete in a global economy.

“Across much of the country, kids are going back to school to find more crowded classrooms, and – in some cases — shorter school weeks,” said Phil Oliff, policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and author of the report released today. “That’s no way to develop our future workforce and build a strong economy.”

The Center’s full report can be found at: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3825


Oklahoma Policy Insititute (OK Policy) advances equitable and fiscally responsible policies that expand opportunity for all Oklahomans through non-partisan research, analysis, and advocacy.

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