Up to the minute closings and delays

“This was a last resort,” Oklahoma Historical Society employees facing furloughs

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Several state agencies and schools across Oklahoma are being forced to make hard choices when it comes to staying on budget.

Currently, the state is facing a $1.3 billion budget shortfall, forcing agencies across Oklahoma to make drastic cuts.

The problem intensified when officials announced another 4 percent cut to agencies across the board.

The situation only got worse on Tuesday when the Office of Management and Enterprise Services announced that February collections were nearly $50 million below the estimate, which was used to build the current fiscal year's budget.

As a result of the budget crisis, schools and state agencies have been making drastic cuts to save funds.

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Historical Society announced that it was forced to declare two days of furloughs for all employees.

"This was a last resort, but we have exhausted all savings such as a hiring freeze, deferred maintenance, and the cancellation of several contracts,"  said Dr. Bob Blackburn, executive director of the OHS.

This past summer, OHS' budget was cut by $427,581, but declining revenue have created an additional budget hole of $931,461.

"Almost one-third of our appropriation is funding to make bond payments on the Oklahoma History Center, but those funds are not shielded from revenue shortfalls. We have to make the payments, which transfers that cut to the operational side," Blackburn said.

The Oklahoma Historical Society maintains 31 museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state.