TULSA - Oklahoma school district leaders were expecting to see the same funds as last year during the upcoming school year, but a state Department of Education announcement this week delivered some unwelcome news.
Nearly $64 million dollars will be withheld from public schools.
Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Keith Ballard criticized state leaders for their choices to fund other programs instead, his district will be losing $1.75 million.
"People of Oklahoma need to know that it's not a priority and that every single school will be starting school with less money than they had anticipated. Less money than we had last year," he said. "Flat means flat, flat means that we get the same amount as we got last year."
State legislators voted to approve a flat budget for education this year, but the Oklahoma Department of Education has the task of distributing those tax dollars among all public education programs.
OKDOE spokesman Damon Gardenhire said districts were not promised the same funds. He says, with the student population expected to increase, more charter school applications and more interest in virtual school programs state funds have to stretch. He adds some schools may receive additional state aid later on in the year.
Ballard says teacher positions will not be cut as a result of less state funds.