OKLAHOMA CITY (October 25, 2018) – The Oklahoma State Board of Education today approved a Fiscal Year 2020 budget request of $3.35 billion for common education, which includes an increase of more than $440.6 million. The request – among the largest ever for common education – seeks to reduce class sizes and boost critical funding for instruction to support Oklahoma teachers and students after years of severe budget cuts.
“Budgets reflect priorities. This budget represents a strategic investment for students and teachers,” said Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “While a significant step forward, the teacher pay raise was not enough to stem the teacher shortage or meet the pressing needs of a growing student population. Increasing instructional dollars must be Oklahoma’s next step forward.”
This year’s requested increase includes restoring $253 million to the state funding formula. The additional operational dollars are intended to reduce class sizes and restore classroom resources.
The budget request also includes $58 million for a School Counselor Corps. The investment is critical due to the state’s high counselor-to-student ratio, which far exceeds national recommendations. The corps will assist in providing the supports students need in elementary, middle and high school. It will also be used to engage in useful and meaningful Individual Career Academic Planning, or ICAP. ICAP, which is being piloted in more than 70 districts, will be a graduation requirement for students who enter ninth grade in the 2019-20 school year.
“Our children deserve to be ready for success after high school. The role of the school counselor can make an enduring and life-changing impact,” Hofmeister said.
Oklahoma has the highest incidence of childhood trauma in the country, including bullying, family violence, substance abuse and other challenges that impact learning. The School Counselor Corps will be instrumental in supporting students who have experienced similar hardships.
The FY 20 budget request also includes an additional $79 million for Support of Students and Teachers, a line item that directly impacts classroom programs and investments. Key areas to receive additional funding include:
- Alternative education programs to reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates
- School support, to provide resources facilitating rapid improvement
- Returning a competitive grants pool that will increase district access to a variety of reading, math, robotics and other student success programs
- Early childhood programs
- Supports for struggling readers
- Professional development for educators and support staff
View the complete budget request here.