Oklahoma schools don’t make the cut


Schools across Oklahoma are experiencing the effects of a $47 million cut approved by the State Board of Education.

The cut was due to a projected $157 million shortfall announced in December. The shortfall is expected to increase to around $900 million before the 2017 fiscal year, according to Rep. Earl Sears.

Each allocated agency has been forced to make three percent cuts as well.

State Secretary of Finance, Preston Doerflinger, blames oil for the deficit. Oil prices are still decreasing.

The school lunch match program will be cut 30 percent, staff development cut 50 percent, and AP teacher training and fee assistance cut around 55 percent. However, the STEM program will be affected the most with a 100 percent cut, which concerns many about the future of today’s students and potential workers.

“Many people consider it to be the engine that drives the economy,” said Dr. Frank Wang, the president of the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, a school based on STEM.

Not only is the shortfall affecting STEM, but it’s also forcing schools that heavily rely on state dollars to close.

In a recent article published by Eric Swanson of the Ada News, it was revealed that the Ada Public School district is going to lose at least $167,000 in financial aid.

“So we’re looking at basically $167,874 and some change that we will lose between now and the end of the year,” Superintendent Pat Harrison said. The reductions will continue until June 30, the end of the 2016 fiscal year.

The cut went into effect on Jan. 1 of this year is called by some “the first round of cuts,” since more are expected before the last day of school.

“It looks like there will be yet another cut this spring to this semester,” said State School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister in a public statement mid-January. Statistics are looking at around an additional $19 million cut.

While Ada is not expected to experience the extent of the cut this year, there may be upcoming issues next year.  Some AHS students are starting to speculate what that will mean for them.

“Budget cuts don’t just affect our supplies, what it directly affects is our education because we need [schools to] supply our minds with education,” said Ada High sophomore, Lakshana Ramakrishnan.