TULSA - School districts across Oklahoma have canceled classes for March 31st so teachers, staff and parents can attend a rally for more education funding at the state Capitol.
But some, like Jonathan Small of the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs, says Oklahoma spends plenty of money on education, just not on the correct priorities.
"The problem has been not a lack of money, but how it's been spent," he told KRMG.
"From fiscal year 1998 to fiscal year 2011, what's unbelievable (is that) teacher positions have increased six percent, administrative positions have increased 48 percent."
He went on to say that even when broken down per pupil, Oklahoma spends a huge amount on education.
"We're spending well over $10,000 a year per student, and bringing in revenue of more than $12,000. That's pretty phenomenal, I mean that would allow you to go to the vast majority of private schools in Oklahoma, and some pretty expensive ones at that."
He was especially critical of the Edmond School District, which used its text alert system to urge parents to attend the March 31st rally, effectively using a taxpayer-supported system to urge taxpayers to rally to get more money from taxpayers.
They even offered rides on district-owned school buses (which the district says will be paid for with private funds).
Small believes "the unions prevent us from paying good teachers more, and paying bad teachers less, or firing them."
Solving that issue, he said, would go a long way toward getting better teachers into the classrooms, and saving money.
He also felt all the money being spent on transportation, food, and other costs associated with the rally on March 31st would be better spent on, for example, stipends for deserving teachers.