School funding keeps increasing

The Commissioners of the Land Office (CLO) announced that for the second year in a row it set a new statewide record distribution to Oklahoma’s public schools.

During the 2017 fiscal year, which ended June 30, K-12 public schools received a total of $103.4 million, which exceeds the 2016 fiscal year total by $1.2 million. That surpassed last year’s highest distribution in state history to set a new all-time annual high for the CLO.

Higher education beneficiaries received $34 million in 2017, the second-highest distribution to higher education in state history.

Total funds distributed to common and higher education beneficiaries by the CLO equaled $137.4 million.

“I am pleased that the land office was able to increase distributions to public education in a year when state revenues were down,” CLO Secretary Harry Birdwell said. “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the agency staff, as well as the forward thinking of the commissioners, we have been able to diversify our portfolio so that even in a year when other economic factors are working against us, the CLO was able to increase distributions and set another record for K-12 distributions.”

Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb, vice chairman of the CLO board, commended Birdwell and agency staff for their achievement.

“I am appreciative of the diligent work done by the land office this past year,” Lamb said. “It is an honor to serve as a commissioner for an office that continues to see goals of record-breaking contributions to higher education and K-12 schools come to fruition.”