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The Morning Bell: Funding has not kept pace with rise in enrollment

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Kaiden Honeycutt talks with his teacher Larissa Krusinsky during fifth grade class at Hugh Bish Elementary in Lawton, Okla. on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Kaiden Honeycutt talks with his teacher Larissa Krusinsky during fifth grade class at Hugh Bish Elementary in Lawton, Okla. on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Good Wednesday morning!

First off: A Yukon elementary school is closed today because of a flu outbreak. Read more here

Enrollment growth: A total of 694,816 students were enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade at the start of the school year in Oklahoma public schools, an increase of 1,106 over the 2016 total, according to numbers released Tuesday by the state Department of Education.

As the new annual enrollment count was announced, one of the takeaways for state superintendent Joy Hofmeister was that state funding is not growing at the same rate.

“Once again, Oklahoma schools are educating more students than ever before with few new resources,” Hofmeister said. “Funding has not kept pace with the steady rise in enrollment over the past decade, the growing diversity of Oklahoma’s student population or the decrease of trained educators entering the profession. We will continue to advocate for teacher pay raises and adequate funding levels to meet the needs of all Oklahoma schoolchildren.”

In addition to growth, the state's public school system is getting more diverse. In 2016 nonwhite students outnumbered white students for the first time. That trend continued this year. 

This year's student demographics were as follows: 

  • 48.85 percent white
  • 17.23 percent Hispanic
  • 13.59 percent Native American or Alaskan Native
  • 9.33 percent two or more races
  • 8.61 percent black
  • 2.39 percent Asian, Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

The list of the 10 largest districts is identical to last year’s:

  1. Oklahoma City Public Schools: 45,034 students
  2. Tulsa Public Schools: 39,596
  3. Edmond Public Schools: 24,892
  4. Moore Public Schools: 24,687
  5. Putnam City Public Schools: 19,515
  6. Broken Arrow Public Schools: 19,081
  7. Norman Public Schools: 16,103
  8. Union Public Schools: 15,847
  9. Mid-Del Public Schools: 14,334
  10. Lawton Public Schools: 14,068

Preschool pays off in Tulsa, study shows

Georgetown University’s latest research on Tulsa’s pre-kindergarten program found higher scores on state math tests and a 26 percent reduction in students being held back by seventh grade, reports the Tulsa World

In an article released Tuesday in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, the researchers offer the first bits of evidence that longer-term effects of the Tulsa pre-K program, while more modest than the significant advantages shown in kindergarten readiness, do not disappear by the time children hit middle school.

Altus admin staff changes

The Altus Public Schools Board of Education upgraded Roe Worbes’ title to deputy superintendent and named Robbie Holder as the new assistant superintendent effective July 1, 2018 during its regular board meeting Monday night, reports the Altus Times

Related Photos
Kaiden Honeycutt talks with his teacher Larissa Krusinsky during fifth grade class at Hugh Bish Elementary in Lawton, Okla. on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. Two year ago the school received an F grade, since then the school has raised its state grade to a B.  Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Kaiden Honeycutt talks with his teacher Larissa Krusinsky during fifth grade class at Hugh Bish Elementary in Lawton, Okla. on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. Two year ago the school received an F grade, since then the school has raised its state grade to a B. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f7ffb31cf499bacef3c923a45abc46a4.jpg" alt="Photo - Kaiden Honeycutt talks with his teacher Larissa Krusinsky during fifth grade class at Hugh Bish Elementary in Lawton, Okla. on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. Two year ago the school received an F grade, since then the school has raised its state grade to a B. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman" title="Kaiden Honeycutt talks with his teacher Larissa Krusinsky during fifth grade class at Hugh Bish Elementary in Lawton, Okla. on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. Two year ago the school received an F grade, since then the school has raised its state grade to a B. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Kaiden Honeycutt talks with his teacher Larissa Krusinsky during fifth grade class at Hugh Bish Elementary in Lawton, Okla. on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. Two year ago the school received an F grade, since then the school has raised its state grade to a B. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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