Editorial: Cutting public school budgets

Public schools are gearing up for budget cuts.

Because of the drop in the price of oil, state revenues are down. A projected $1.3 billion shortfall for the 2016-2017 fiscal year could easily turn into a $1.5 billion deficit (or more).

Look for the liberal media to say “The sky is falling!”

Catoosa Public Schools is adjusting its schedule to a four-day week, eliminating classes on Friday. This is in response to a projected $200,000 shortfall from state aid.

Once again, government overfunds low priorities and underfunds high priorities.

Districts like Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Jenks, Union, Bixby, Owasso and others borrow tens of millions (or hundreds of millions) of dollars for state-of-the-art, shiny new facilities. They place the property owners in those districts heavily into debt and yet they can’t afford to pay teachers a livable wage and they can’t afford to hold school five days a week.

Every year, the teachers’ union demands more money from the Legislature. It’s not there this year. Republicans want to cap the education cuts at 5 percent but that might not be enough.

Rural districts need to accept the concept of consolidation and some superintendent jobs need to disappear at tiny, dependent districts. Schools don’t have to be closed but districts must be more efficient.

Throwing money at public education doesn’t work. Public education is top heavy with administration. Academic results are declining.

Oklahomans have shown they are willing to invest in education. This budget crunch will show if school administrators are serious about spending money the right way.