At a budget meeting on Wednesday, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister put forward a new funding request for the fiscal year of 2018. This funding request was for an additional $221 million dollars to be added to the requested budget of $2.6 billion.
Hofmeister has stated that “she wanted to reprioritize to meet the most critical needs of the state and invest in our future education.” This funding is needed to support the needs of Oklahoma’s public schools in the upcoming year. Without this money, Oklahoma’s education budget would have to be cut down past its original position.
With the low price of oil and gas, the Oklahoma state budget has taken a hit from its previous income. There is currently a $870 million budget shortfall for 2017. This is a serious source for concern and the major reason behind the lack of money in departments such as Education and Corrections. This is a cause for alarm as these two departments are very important in Oklahoma.
This lack of funding for education has caused serious problems for Oklahoma as compared to other states. According to a study by Education Week, a group that grades state schooling, Oklahoma was given a D+ for its overall state grade on education. With its score of 68.2, it ranks 46th on the list. On this list, Massachusetts sits at the top with a B+ and Mississippi is last at a D.
Because of the issues involving education in Oklahoma, Hofmeister’s requested funding is desperately needed to support the growing amounts of students entering the school system at this time. In 2015, according to Oklahoma’s Department of Education, 4,000 more students entered the public school system, and student enrollment numbers are on the rise.
Schools need more money to support the larger amount of students. Education is extremely important because it provides the tools people can use to support themselves in the future. Without proper education, it is extremely hard to make a living in the world. Even as Oklahoma goes through a rough time, education needs to be considered a priority.