The funding crisis in Oklahoma continues to be the single biggest threat to the work my team has begun to transform the educational experiences of students in Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS).
In 2016, OKCPS was forced to identify $30 million dollars in budget cuts as a result of the state’s revenue failures and other funding reductions. These deep cuts hit our classrooms hard, impacting textbook adoptions, elementary school supply budgets, athletics, library media budgets, and fine arts budgets, and OKCPS also lost more than 200 teaching positions, increasing class sizes for all grades. We are already looking at the real possibility of closing schools next year because we anticipate losing another $4-8 million for 2017-18. Vouchers, or “education scholarship accounts,” will further compound this situation, negatively affecting the funding of every district in the state of Oklahoma. OKCPS alone will lose up to $2 million dollars next school year if the current voucher bill becomes law, with cuts totaling as much as $111 million dollars over the next 10 years. We simply cannot afford to let that happen.
On behalf of the 46,000 students of Oklahoma City Public Schools, I urge you to oppose SB560. Vouchers are not the answer to improving educational outcomes for all students, especially in the current budget crisis.
Oklahoma City Public Schools
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