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State Taps Rainy Day Fund For Education And Corrections

Oklahoma Capitol
Flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Mary Fallin and legislative leaders announced an agreement on Wednesday to help state schools and prisons avoid additional mid-year cuts. The state will withdraw $51 million from the Rainy Day Fund for the Department of Education and another $27.5 million for the Department of Corrections.

“We think that this is a very responsible, available action that we can take immediately to address concerns that not only we have but certainly the public has to make sure that our children get the education services that they need and that we keep our public safe through our corrections department until the end of the fiscal year,” Fallin said.

The state’s revenues are not meeting expenses, which has resulted in two revenue failure declarations since December. The first revenue failure brought across the board 3 percent cuts to all agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year. The second revenue failure called for 4 percent cuts.

State School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said the emergency funding will help schools avoid drastic measures, like a four-day school week to end the year.

“The decisions we made today are about children, and they are about making certain that we give our children a teacher in their classrooms, a way to finish successfully, and this ensures that that impact will be lessened, and I’m very grateful for every dollar,” Hofmeister said.

Joe Allbaugh, the interim director of the Department of Correction, said the action “filled some very large holes” in his agency.

“Thankfully, we’re going to have enough money to not only make payroll but make sure that the public is protected from those who have broken our laws,” Allbaugh said.

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Jacob McCleland spent nine years as a reporter and host at public radio station KRCU in Cape Girardeau, Mo. His stories have appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Here & Now, Harvest Public Media and PRI’s The World. Jacob has reported on floods, disappearing languages, crop duster pilots, anvil shooters, Manuel Noriega, mule jumps and more.
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