Weekly Radio Message - State Superintendent Janet Barresi

Below is the transcript from State Supt. Barresi's weekly radio message from May 13, 2011. The audio file is attached below.


Hello and welcome to my weekly video message.

I’m Janet Barresi, Oklahoma’s state superintendent of public instruction.

In this message, I wanted to talk to you about the state budget agreement announced earlier this week.

State legislative leaders and Governor Fallin on Tuesday announced that education would face a 4.1 percent cut for fiscal year 2012, amounting to about $97.4 million cut. All told, the state budget for education for fiscal year 2012 will be $2.28 billion.

Perhaps the most important thing you should know about this reduction is that it is truly a 4.1 percent cut, and not a penny more.

Faced with a half-billion dollar shortfall, legislative leaders and the governor had tough choices to make.

While a 4.1 percent reduction for education will be difficult, it is less than the cuts education faced earlier in the legislative session and significantly less than other sectors of state government.

I'm thankful budget negotiators were able to lessen the overall impact on education from reduced state revenues. And I’m committed to doing everything we can at the State Department of Education to ensure that the impact of this reduction on school districts is minimized.

With a tight state budget, this is also an opportunity for the State Department of Education to evaluate programs and to repurpose funds for top priorities.

This very same week that lawmakers and the governor announced the new state budget I was given the authority to act as the chief executive of the state department of education, so that I can manage the day to day operations of this agency, and have the opportunity to live up to promises made to Oklahomans to update and upgrade this agency for the 21st century.

You’ve heard me talk throughout the spring about the 3R agenda to rethink, restructure and reform Oklahoma’s education system.

The second ‘R’ in that agenda – to restructure – will aim for a comprehensive overhaul of the State Department of Education’s operations and organizational culture.

I will be announcing details about our restructuring efforts at the agency level in coming months. The overall goal is to move from being primarily a regulatory agency to a service organization that is focused on learning.

We must work smarter with less, we must be wise stewards of taxpayers’ money and we must restructure the state department of education so that it is more effective and efficient.

Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next week

Last updated on December 14, 2011