District faces sharp funding cuts

January 12, 2016

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With Oklahoma City Public Schools facing severe budget cuts, community support for local schools is as important as ever.

“Cuts to education funding, at a time when we are already dealing with teacher shortages and much lower than average per student spending, make the work of The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools even more critical,” said Mary Mélon, president and CEO of The Foundation. “Our programs and initiatives that support schools, teachers and students rely heavily on the support of community partners.”

The district announced this week that it’s mid-year funding cut would amount to $1,568,800, due to the revenue failure declared by the state and adjustments made by the state Education Department. At Monday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Rob Neu said the results of the funding reduction were still being determined. He added that his goal was to protect dollars spent in the classroom and would not recomend across the board cuts. 
However, the reduction will continue to squeeze the district and it’s ability to keep up with student growth. By protecting teacher pay and core services, the district has less money for classroom resources, athletic equipment and extra curricular activities.

“Partners in Action, DonorsChoose.org and the Bilingual Teacher Pipeline Project are focused and aligned with the district’s strategic plan, The Great Commitment,” Mélon said about some of The Foundation’s programs. “Community support has never been more important.”

DonorsChoose.org allows members of the community to view real classroom projects that lack funding and make a donation. The Foundation has helped raise over $419,000 for OKCPS projects over the past 14 months through matches on most projects, which include classroom books, computers and items used for special projects and everyday learning.

The Foundation has also partnered with the district to launch Partners In Action, a new initiative that connects community partners with local schools. Businesses, churches and nonprofit organizations can visit okcps.org/PartnersInAction and view real school needs. These needs include mentors and tutors, school supplies and student uniforms. Community partners can meet these needs with the click of a button, helping to fill in the funding gaps that exist in many local schools.