Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin recently signed an executive order declaring that all school districts that spend less than 60% of their budgets on instruction should be consolidated, reports The Oklahoman.
Put more simply, a school district must be spending six out of every ten dollars to pay teachers. If not, the district will be forced to combine with a nearby district, or share budgets, maintenance, equipment, and other employees like janitors and counselors.
New data from the National Center for Educational Statistics shows that almost all of Oklahoma’s school districts would fail to meet the 60% threshold. Jason James, the superintendent of Alex Public Schools, lambasted Fallin’s order.
“This idea completely discounts the total cost associated with educating a child,” he said, adding: “Fuel costs money, . . . building repairs cost money. To be an efficient school we have to not only invest in teachers, but teacher aides, librarians, custodians and social programs.”