CBPP: State higher education funding cuts have pushed costs to students, worsened inequality

[Image Source: "OSU in the morning" by sringsmuth licensed under CC BY NC ND 2.0] Oklahoma has not been immune from these issues, but the last legislative session saw state lawmakers provide an additional $25.3 million increase, or about 3.3%, in funding for higher education. [More...]

FY 2020 Budget Highlights

Without accounting for inflation, next year’s appropriations will be the largest in state history, surpassing the $7.567 billion budget in FY 2019. When adjusted for inflation, next year’s budget remains 10.2 percent below the budget of FY 2009 and 14.9 percent less than the peak year of FY 2007. [More...]

End of Session Education Round-Up: Steady steps forward

Image Credit: US Department of Education / Flickr While the 2019 legislative session was not as attention-grabbing as last year, public education still claimed a number of victories this session. [More...]

Budget Overview: The rebuilding project continues

Overall, it's best to think of this budget as a second step on what needs to be a long journey. When adjusted for inflation, this budget is still 10.1 percent  below the FY 2009 level. Over half of state agencies still have lower budgets than they did in FY 2009 without accounting for inflation. [More...]

Changes to scholarship tax credit bill would divert even more dollars from public education

While intended to address concerns with the original version, the latest changes to the scholarship tax credit legislation are even more harmful. In addition to diverting more tax dollars away from public services, the revisions also dilute the fiscal impact of donations to public school foundations and create unfair advantages for some nonprofits. [More...]

Virtual charter schools are a cause for concern. These bills could help.

Skyrocketing student growth over the past seven years means that virtual charter schools receive a growing share of state funding, and concerns center around how these public dollars are used and their impact on student outcomes.  [More...]

Investing in Oklahoma higher education yields strong returns

By 2020, 67 percent of all jobs created in Oklahoma will require some college, a certificate or a college degree. Legislators would be wise to invest some of this year's growth revenue back into higher education so our economy can continue to thrive for years to come. [More...]

Report: Despite gains from teacher walkout, Oklahoma school funding is still way down

For the past five years Oklahoma has led the nation for the largest per-pupil cuts to education funding since the Great Recession, according to an annual report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). This year's report, released today, finds that Oklahoma has finally moved out of the bottom spot in per pupil formula funding cuts thanks to last year’s teacher pay raise funded by the Legislature on the eve of the statewide teacher walkout. However, despite these gains, Oklahoma remains well below pre-Recession levels in per-pupil funding and still has cut more than any state other than Texas. [More...]

The School Counselor Corps would be a lifeline for students. Ask the Legislature to fund it

Oklahoma schools desperately need more school counselors. Oklahoma has 435 students for every counselor, nearly double the recommended ratio of 250 students per counselor. To help address this problem, the State Department of Education has asked the Legislature for $58 million dollars to fund a School Counselor Corps, which would allow districts to hire additional school counselors and licensed therapists. Both types of professionals are critical. Children in Oklahoma experience trauma at higher rates than their peers in most other states. This trauma can lead to academic struggles along with a host of negative mental and physical health outcomes. Providing students proper supports is the key to counteracting these realities.  [More...]

Increasing the scholarship tax credit hurts public schools and benefits affluent Oklahomans

Correction 4/1/19: This post has been updated to correct information about the income eligibility for scholarship recipients.  In 2011, the Legislature passed the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Act, which grants tax credits to individuals or corporations who make a… Read more [More...]