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Oklahoma State Superintendent Of Public Instruction Says Funding Increase Ask Won't Be Enough

Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister answers a question at the Central Oklahoma PPE distribution warehouse where supplies for schools are being distributed Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Oklahoma City.
Sue Ogrocki
/
AP
Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister answers a question at the Central Oklahoma PPE distribution warehouse where supplies for schools are being distributed Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma’s State Board of Education is asking for a funding increase for the state's schools in this year’s legislative session.

After COVID-caused budget cuts, the state’s education department has asked the legislature for a $190 million dollar funding increase. But state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister says even that ask, totalling $3.2 billion, will not meet the needs of Oklahoma’s 700,000 schoolchildren.

Schools are already running behind because of years of cuts.

Federal relief is coming in the form of a new stimulus, but Hofmeister says the more than $650 million funneled into Oklahoma schools’ coffers later this year simply won’t be enough because of rising costs.

"For the most part Oklahoma schools have been operating in person. So, our expenses are actually being consumed while other states are actually holding them for investments in instruction," Hofmeister said.

Lawmakers will have a challenging time meeting the request as the statye’s budget hole could be hundreds of millions of dollars due to the pandemic’s economic fallout.

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