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Study: Oklahoma City educational spending near bottom for largest metro areas

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Less than a month after a teacher walkout came to an end, a national study is taking a closer look at student spending in the largest metro areas.

A study released by MagnifyMoney.com ranked the 50 largest metro areas according to public school funding.

In addition to looking at overall spending, the researchers also looked at education spending in the following categories:

  • Instruction (including teacher pay and benefits)
  • Pupil support and instruction support
  • Capital expenditures (money spent on facilities, land and equipment)
  • School & district administrator pay and benefits, transportation costs and salaries, and interest payments on debt.

Although educators across the state marched at the Capitol for change earlier this year, the study ranked Oklahoma City near the bottom on public school spending.

According to the study, Oklahoma City metro’s per student spending sits at $8,898, which is almost $4,000 below the average. Instructional spending also sat at $4,286 per student.

It’s a trend that Oklahoma educators attempted to change as they walked out of the classroom for several days and confronted lawmakers at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

In March, the Oklahoma Education Association announced that it was seeking a $10,000 pay raise for Oklahoma teachers over three years, a $5,000 pay raise for support professionals over three years, a cost-of-living adjustment for retirees, and the restoration of funding for education and core government services.

OEA announced that it was tentatively planning a teacher walkout for April 2 if legislators didn’t meet those demands.

Last month, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill that raises teachers’ salaries by an average of $6,100. It also gives $1,250 raises for support staff and adds $50 million in education funding.

For nine days, thousands of educators and supporters headed to the Capitol to demand an increase to education funding.

However, there was some good news in the study.

“The area stood out from other metros on the bottom of the list by spending $1,172 per student on capital expenditure. (Phoenix spent $630, and 47th-place Las Vegas spent $242),” the report states.

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