State budget cuts could soon lead to teacher layoffs in Ardmore

By: Dara Downs Email
By: Dara Downs Email

ARDMORE, OK - Last month Oklahoma cut funding for all agencies receiving state funding by ten percent, which includes funding for education. Dara Downs is in the Ardmore newsroom with how local schools are dealing with less money.

Education has been hard hit by the budget cuts made in Oklahoma. Ardmore schools says they've cut back on spending drastically, but fear if the cuts continue they could be forced to cut teachers.

The budget cuts the state was forced to take in 2009 are carrying over into the new year, forcing schools to cut from every area of spending. The Ardmore City Schools says it has already cut spending on bus routes and might have to forgo this years adoption of new textbooks.

''We are looking at math this year and in all probability we will keep our old books and use them another year," Ardmore City Schools superintendent Dr. Ruth Ann Carr says.

Dr. Carr says Ardmore Schools have done the best they can with the cuts, but with 85 percent of the schools budget in salaries teachers could be the next ones to go.

''We have to have electricity, we have run the buses, so those things we've cut them about as far as we can so yes about the only place left is going to be in personnel,' Dr. Carr says.'

Oklahoma State Representative Samson Buck says the across-the-board cuts were necessary because Oklahoma is required to have a balanced budget.

''They're very real, and we understand that but we are required by law to make them, and it's not an easy time," Buck said.

Buck says when the legislature reconvenes in February it will address the need to tap into the state's Rainy Day Fund, as well as using the rest of the stimulus money the state got last year.

"We have $600 million in in the Rainy Day Fund, and that will be used and also we did not use all of our stimulus money we only procreated half of that.''

Dr. Carr says while help might be on the way the immediate effects of the cuts are very hard to take.

"We people have to lose jobs when you have to cut services to children. It is very devastating."

According to officials Oklahoma's budget for state agencies is down almost $1.5 million from what it was projected to be in 2010, and because Oklahoma must have a balanced budget they say more cuts are likely to come.

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