OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - State Superintendent Janet Barresi announced late Thursday that preK-12 education would receive $91 million in new funds for fiscal year 2013.
The news came when details of the state's budget were released at the Capitol.
According to Barresi, Oklahoma public schools received $74 million in new money and an additional $17 million for the Flexible Benefits allowance for educators and ad valorem funds.
"We appreciate the $91 million commitment to common education and the promise to fund education reforms," Barresi said. "Unfortunately, this does not meet all of the needs of school districts or account for the growing population of students in the state in total. We are thankful, however, that common education is a priority of our lawmakers. Historically, common education gets about 35 percent of the state budget. With this budget deal, we received 43 percent of the new money available."
Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard tells KRMG he is pleased with the increased funding. Ballard says, "First, I’d like to thank the Oklahoma legislature for increasing the budget for public education by $74 million. We appreciate the many House members, senators and especially the parents who pushed for even greater levels of support. They know how hard districts across the state have struggled to maintain service levels with pre-2008 budgets. While appropriations are substantially more than last year, it is important to note that our state has also added 31,000 children to its statewide enrollment. This means an increase of $74 million that will go toward the increased student load and not toward adding services or bringing down student-teacher ratios."