The Morning Bell: Funding has not kept pace with rise in enrollment
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:
- Oklahoma City Public Schools: 45,034 students
- Tulsa Public Schools: 39,596
- Edmond Public Schools: 24,892
- Moore Public Schools: 24,687
- Putnam City Public Schools: 19,515
- Broken Arrow Public Schools: 19,081
- Norman Public Schools: 16,103
- Union Public Schools: 15,847
- Mid-Del Public Schools: 14,334
- 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.