The Morning Bell: New funding task force, schools wait for cuts and more ed news
Good Monday morning!
Following a recent uptick in the number of school districts operating under a four-day school week, the state could make some of those schools move back to five days, if they become one of the lowest performing schools in the state.
The state could also require schools to provide free meals to all students if they aren't already, according to intervention details listed in Oklahoma's new education plan.
The Every Student Succeeds Act, which has replaced No Child Left Behind, has given states more control in a variety of ways, including when it comes to intervening in low-performing schools.
I recently wrote about how Oklahoma's new school plan gives the state Department of Education a little more muscle when it comes to guiding schools that appear on the state improvement list. You can read that story here.
--STATE BUDGET WATCH: While the Legislature continues to debate a way to fill a major budget hole, teachers and members of the Oklahoma Education Association were at the state Capitol on Saturday, urging lawmakers to adopt a budget plan that includes a teacher pay raise.
I spent some time at the Capitol and posted a video, which includes OEA president Alicia Priest saying a $3,000 raise would send an important message to educators.
Failure to fill the budget hole could result in a nearly $40 million loss for public education, reports Catherine Sweeney of the Journal Record.
The Oklahoma Senate leaders criticized the House for 'cowardice' after a budget proposal failed to move out of committee. The package included revenue for a teacher pay raise.
--FUNDING FORMULA: State lawmakers are in the early stages of possibly changing Oklahoma's complex school funding formula, which has remained virtually unchanged for 36 years despite major shifts in public education and student needs.
“The main reason the (funding) formula hasn't been touched ... is when you mess with it there is going to be winners and losers,” said Matt Holder, deputy superintendent of finance and federal programs for the state Department of Education.
A newly created state task force met on Friday to study the funding formula and discuss ways to improve it.
--CHARTER LAWSUIT: The Oklahoma Public Charter School Association’s lawsuit against the state aims to accomplish what legislation recently did in Colorado and Florida — increase charter schools’ access to public dollars, reports Andrea Eger of the Tulsa World.
Oklahoma City and Tulsa schools have entered the lawsuit in an attempt to prevent charters from getting more of the funding pie. As Eger reports, "the two inner-city school districts willingly sponsor most of the state’s 28 charter school districts. But the legal battle puts them in direct competition with charter schools for existing dollars, and Oklahoma City Public Schools and Tulsa Public Schools stand to lose the most revenue."
--SCHOLARSHIP REJECTION OVERTURNED: A high school valedictorian from Pond Creek-Hunter High School who was denied access to the Oklahoma's Promise scholarship by her school has been awarded the scholarship following a decision by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
--ART CONTEST: The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission is inviting Oklahoma youth ages 6 to 17 to participate in the state's 2018 International Aviation Art Contest. This year's theme is "Flight Into the Future."
--STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS: The Education Department is considering only partially forgiving federal loans for students defrauded by for-profit colleges. Department officials confirmed the change is being discussed. The change would abandon the Obama administration's policy of erasing that debt.
That does it for today's Morning Bell. Got a question, comment or story idea? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org