Education officials seeking $3.35 billion to restore funding, reduce class size

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Board of Education approved a budget request of $3.35 billion for common education, and it will soon be up to state leaders to determine how much of that funding is approved.

“Budgets reflect priorities. This budget represents a strategic investment for students and teachers,” said Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “While a significant step forward, the teacher pay raise was not enough to stem the teacher shortage or meet the pressing needs of a growing student population. Increasing instructional dollars must be Oklahoma’s next step forward.”

On Thursday, the board approved a Fiscal Year 2020 budget request of $3.35 billion for common education, which is a $440.6 million increase from the last fiscal year’s budget.

The request is among the largest ever for common education, and seeks to reduce class size and boost critical funding for instruction. The requested increase includes restoring $253 million to the state funding formula in order to reduce class sizes and restore classroom resources.

The budget request also includes $58 million for a School Counselor Corps to support students in elementary, middle and high school.

“Our children deserve to be ready for success after high school. The role of the school counselor can make an enduring and life-changing impact,” Hofmeister said.

Now, it will be up to the state to determine how much of that funding is awarded to the agency.