4-21-05 – Schools across Oklahoma are in limbo as they wait for the state to determine the education budget for next fall. The legislature set their own deadline to try and break a cycle of late decisions that leave local schools frustrated; but that deadline was not met again this year.
Legislators said they would know how much money would be allocated to schools by April 1st, just in time for school’s hiring deadlines which are April 10th. Today, legislators have still not made a final decision.
“It's something we've been accustomed to, so we just look at our staff vs. needs and we just try not to overstaff," Jarvis Dobbs – the Superintendent of Colbert schools.
School administrators say lawmakers are late nearly every budget cycle, but this year was supposed to be different.
“They were the ones that imposed that deadline on themselves, and they didn't meet it," said Dobbs.
In Durant, 66% of the school’s budget comes from the state. While the superintendent, Dr. Jerry James, does not expect cuts, he does want to know if the schools will be receiving extra funding.
"Is it going to be static? If so, that relates nearly to a reduction because gas has gone up, people need pay raises. So, we actually need additional funding just to maintain what we're doing in the district right now."