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Oklahoma Education Leaders Worry Coronavirus Relief Funding Isn't Enough

Shawnee Public Schools custodian Lavonne Harris wipes down a door knob at the district’s central office.
Robby Korth
StateImpact Oklahoma
Shawnee Public Schools custodian Lavonne Harris wipes down a door knob at the district’s central office.";

Oklahoma has continued allotting its $1.2 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding, but education officials worry that might not be enough. 

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced last week Oklahoma schools would get $10 million in funding for personal protective equipment. That should cover two reusable masks for every student and teacher, as well as 42,000 face shields. He said cleaning supplies would not be included in this round of funding.

As Congress and the White House work to reach a deal on a second relief package, Stitt told reporters Thursday, the state doesn’t need one.

"I don’t think we need another stimulus package, no"


Shawn Hime is the CEO of the Oklahoma State School Board Association. He raised concerns about the state’s projected budget hit. Overall, the coronavirus fallout is expected to drop state revenue by over a billion dollars.

"The school portion of that state budget would be over $400 million."

He said that schools aren’t only losing funding amid the pandemic, they’re seeing a slate of new expenses.

"They’re continuing to see increasing costs for COVID-related cleanings, working really hard to have the revenue and resources to offer virtual education to their students and making sure they have everything they need to protect students and staff while they’re in school."

He said that the association is urging the state’s congressional delegation to reach a deal and said Oklahomans should do the same.


StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Catherine Sweeney grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and attended Oklahoma State University. She has covered local, state and federal government for outlets in Oklahoma, Colorado and Washington, D.C.
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