Oklahoma State Board of Education members on Monday reviewed preliminary numbers for a possible $289 million Fiscal Year 2014 budget increase request for public schools to be made to the State Legislature as lawmakers draw closer to the 2013 session. The Board will vote on a budget request at its next regular meeting on October 25.
The preliminary numbers board members reviewed Monday include dollars for statewide implementation of reforms, as well as funds for teachers and school personnel.
State Supt. Janet Barresi said the new budget request, if approved, would represent a shift toward demonstrating a return on investment to taxpayers by tying state funds for schools to detailed performance metrics in areas such as gains in core subjects such as reading and math, results of a statewide Teacher and Leader Effectiveness system, and gains in closing the state's achievement gaps for minority students.
Additionally, with an increase in state aid to public schools, the state would anticipate that local superintendents would use a portion of the new dollars to boost teacher salaries. While the manner and method of teacher pay increases would be left to local decision making, Barresi said it was essential that budget talks this year include an emphasis on better teacher pay.
Board members reviewed preliminary numbers that include a $234 million increase in state aid to public schools — from about $1.8 billion in FY 2013 to a possible increase of more than $2 billion.
The budget request would also ask for nearly $46 million more in the state's public school activities fund — targeting key areas for reform implementation such as third grade reading readiness, Advanced Placement teacher training, ACE (Achieving Classroom Excellence) end-of-instruction requirements remediation, additional money for the state's new Teacher and Leader Effectiveness System, and funds for the state's student information system to provide more precise information for teachers in the classroom.