The State Board of Education removed restrictions on funds for the current school year originally allotted to four specific programs, granting local school districts more flexibility as they prepare to contend with more anticipated budget cuts.
Nearly $30 million was budgeted in the Fiscal Year 2016 school activities fund for the Reading Sufficiency Act (RSA), Achieving Classroom Excellence (ACE) remediation, alternative education and staff professional development. Previously, that money was only allowed to be spent in support of those designated programs. The board’s action removes that restriction, although districts remain obligated to fully meet the requirements of these programs.
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said the change gives local schools more flexibility. The superintendent said the flexibility is particularly critical as districts prepare for a probable cut to the HB 1017 fund, which is a dedicated revenue stream for education, as well as the potential for another revenue failure this fiscal year.
Much of the money impacted by this action already has been distributed to districts. The Oklahoma State Department of Education will continue to ensure schools and districts meet the requirements of the four programs through the accreditation process, which remains unchanged.