Statement on FY18 state budget from Shawn Hime, executive director, Oklahoma State School Boards Association:
“This legislative session began with hope and optimism that legislators were committed to delivering on a long-overdue teacher pay raise, structural budget reform that would provide a foundation for a long-term funding solution for public education and constructive education policy measures.
Over-the top partisan bickering blocked reasonable compromise. During the four months the Legislature was in session, schools sustained $93.3 million in state funding reductions. Where was the outrage and urgency?
I’m thankful there was no cut to the state aid funding formula. But this budget does not provide hope for educators nor solutions to schools’ most pressing challenges. Oklahoma’s historic teacher shortage will continue to grow without a long-term vision and funding plan for education that includes competitive teacher pay. Enrollment is increasing, as are class sizes.
It’s unconscionable that surrounding states reached our current level of per-student funding more than a decade ago and yet we made no dent in this education investment gap. Our children deserve better.
Oklahoma’s education, business and elected state leaders must immediately come together to develop a bipartisan plan for funding education, addressing the teacher shortage and equipping schools with the resources needed to provide a high-quality education for every child. That should be the first legislative action next session.”