OKLAHOMA CITY (May 16, 2014) — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi thanked Oklahoma legislative leaders and Gov. Mary Fallin for unveiling a budget agreement that will provide $80 million in additional funding for K-12 public education.
“I want to thank Gov. Fallin and the Legislature for recognizing the critical importance of our schools and taking action to boost school funding,” Barresi said. “These additional dollars are sorely needed. We all understand that this has been a challenging budget year. By committing to increase funds by a substantial amount, lawmakers have demonstrated that our children and teachers are the priority in Oklahoma.”
The increased funds include $40 million for the Flexible Benefit Allowance (FBA) and $40 million for the school funding formula.
Earlier this week, Barresi announced the Oklahoma State Department of Education must deplete its coffers for the remainder of the fiscal year to pay for the FBA, which covers teachers’ health insurance premiums. Legislative leaders had denied Barresi’s request for a supplemental appropriation of $6.5 million for FBA, which the state is mandated to cover.
In addition to the $80 million in new funds, the governor and legislative leadership indicate that OSDE will be allocated $25 million for ad valorem reimbursement for 2013-14 school year obligations.
The Reading Sufficiency Act will receive $6.5 million in funding, as well as $2 million for third-grade reading readiness.