Sunday, September 13, 2015

With education spending at all-time high, House Speaker calls out administrative bloat

"Total funding for Oklahoma schools during the 2013-14 academic year reached nearly $5.5 billion, an all-time high," Oklahoma House Speaker Jeff Hickman writes today in The Oklahoman.
So why don't Oklahoma's local school districts just pay more? A recent report from the U.S. Department of Education shows it may be because local school boards have committed a growing percentage of their funding to salaries and benefits for administrative and nonteaching staff. 
Between 1992 and 2013, enrollment in Oklahoma schools increased by 14 percent while the number of teachers increased by 11 percent. Administrative and nonteaching staff increased by more than 33 percent. If nonteaching staff had increased at only the same rate as enrollment, Oklahoma schools would have nearly $300 million more available annually to pay teachers higher salaries. ... 
Oklahoma taxpayers are doing their part, providing the resources necessary for a quality education system that can competitively attract great teachers and lessen the impact of the national teacher shortage on our children. It's time for the Legislature to ensure school districts get those hard-earned dollars where they are needed.

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