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It has been nearly one year since the teacher walkout, when thousands of educators flooded Oklahoma’s state capitol demanding better pay and more school funding. After nine days and little progress, they turned their attention to the 2018 elections.

Caroline Halter / KGOU

In this episode of Capitol Insider KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley speak with Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, who shares her thoughts on the state's new report cards, regulating virtual charter schools, and school funding. 

With a huge freshman class and a promise for less gridlock, Oklahoma lawmakers filed more than 2,800 bills this legislative session. With a third of the session now over, the StateImpact team has an update on some bills we’re following.

Pre-kindergarten teaching assistant Rose Mashinda talks to students in a French class at Le Monde International School, a public charter school in Norman.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Students as young as 4 spend the day at Le Monde International School learning to speak, write and read in French or Spanish. On a recent day, a class of boys and girls greeted their principal with an enthusiastic “Bonjour!” Another class crafted Eiffel Towers out of craft sticks.

Textbooks are shown lined up on a desk at Putnam City High School in Oklahoma City in April.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

With its attorney raising challenges, the state Board of Education did not comply by a Sept. 1 deadline with Gov. Mary Fallin’s order to identify for possible consolidation school districts that spend less than 60 percent of their funds on instruction.

Crescent Public Schools Superintendent Bart Watkins said while his district spend a relatively high percentage of its funding on instruction, it has been forced to make cuts, including in number of positions.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Amid an intensifying drumbeat of political promises to propel schools to spend more of their dollars in the classroom, Crescent Public Schools stands out.

Oklahoma Watch

Lawmakers are on their way to passing the largest state budget in Oklahoma history. But that doesn’t mean state agencies have recovered from years of cost-cutting.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote Friday on a $7.5 billion appropriations bill that will be $724 million – or 10.9 percent – more than the state’s current fiscal year budget.

Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

One of the most iconic images of the teacher walkout and the cuts to education funding that drove the movement was of tattered, duct-taped, antiquated textbooks.

StateImpact Oklahoma: A Look at 2018

Dec 28, 2017
StateImpact reporters preview the key health, education, energy and environment issues they'll be tracking in 2018.
StateImpact Oklahoma

2017 is wrapping up, but the growing group of reporters at StateImpact is following important  policy issues that will carry on into the new year.

Senior Reporter and Managing Editor Joe Wertz brought the StateImpact team into the studio for a preview of their coverage in the year to come. Here are some excerpts from the conversation:

Health

Joe Wertz: Give me the big picture for the new year.

school desks
alamosbasement / Flickr

Measures that would boost teacher salaries and pump more money into Oklahoma classrooms have been approved by a state House subcommittee.

Members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education approved the measures Tuesday while acknowledging they do not know how to pay for them. The Board of Equalization said Tuesday the state is facing a projected budget shortfall of $611 million next year due to low energy prices and the layoffs of oilfield workers.

a school classroom with empty chairs
comedy_nose / Flickr Creative Commons

Hundreds of school districts across Oklahoma will share more than $16.3 million in state funding after the State Department of Education admitted miscalculating the state's school funding formula for more than 20 years.

State school officials say the funds are being sent to districts and charter schools this week and next. Most schools received some kind of payment, ranging from hundreds to millions of dollars.

The recalculations are based on a 1992 law that says state aid would not factor in above an 11 percent cap that counties were taxing certain personal property.

State Schools Superintendent Janet Barresi speaks about the federal government's denial of an NCLB waiver extension.
Nate Robson / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma's school's superintendent says miscalculations in the state's school funding formula since 1992 will soon cause a number of mid-year adjustments worth millions of dollars.

The Tulsa World reported Friday a Ponca City school official had noted that a state law caps agricultural and commercial personal property taxes at 11 percent. State Superintendent Janet Barresi said the cap has not been in place.

Tod Binger / Flickr Creative Commons

Updated at 11:57 a.m. following the Senate vote.

The Senate unanimously approved a plan Wednesday morning designed to increase public school funding by $600 million annually.

The measure that passed Wednesday on a 43-0 vote initially diverted revenue used to repair state roads and bridges.

Gov. Mary Fallin / Facebook

Before the rally started outside, Oklahoma Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Robert Sommers stayed inside the building to say the administration supports the need for more cash in the classroom.

"Last year the governor signed into a law a budget that delivered over $120 million in new education funding, the bulk of which was for common education," Sommers says.