Educators, legislators at odds over lottery revenues in Oklahoma

By: Robin Beal Email
By: Robin Beal Email

ARDMORE, Okla. -- A large portion of Oklahoma’s lottery revenues was set to go to schools to pay for teacher raises, but after a $17 million shortfall in projected lottery revenues in 2007, the state superintendent is pushing to have the legislature change the way it earmarks funds for local districts.

Officials from the Oklahoma State Department of Education have expressed concerns lately about how lottery revenues are actually funneled to individual school districts.

State Superintendent Sandy Garrett's Office says that she plans to broach the topic at next week's state school board meeting and hopes to draft something that can be sent to the legislature next month.

The issue seems to be in how the legislature says those lottery funds can be spent.

Some local schools administrators say they have to make up for a shortfall in lottery revenue out of their district reserves.

"They do need to pay for it because if they're not getting enough money to take care of the mandates, then you're going to have to start cutting out somewhere," Thackerville superintendent David Herron says.

Legislators say schools are getting more money than ever before, and that nobody should have had to cover any lottery revenue shortfalls out of reserve funds.

There seems to be a difference of opinion depending on who you talk to.

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  • by Thackerville Resident Location: Thackerville on Jan 21, 2008 at 11:21 AM
    I agree with administrators wasting money, for anyone that drives up and down I-35, you see the electronic Thackerville School calendar sign, it was Mr. Herron that got that sign as a gift from the Chickasaw Nation. Instead of the sign, he could have gotten the Chickasaws to install a new floor for the gym and he didnt do it. Now all we have is a sign in the middle of nowhere and a cracked floor.
  • by billy Location: oklahoma on Jan 20, 2008 at 06:13 AM
    Hey anonymous, where do you get your facts from. If what you said is true why are there millions of lotteries around and since oklahoma began the lottery more than 119 million dollars. which means the schools across the state received millions more in funding than they would have if there was no lottery.
  • by Kim Jackson on Jan 20, 2008 at 05:52 AM
    This is a confusing issue. I look forward to hearing Robin sort it out for me.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 19, 2008 at 12:06 PM
    I can't believe they were stupid enough to even start the lottery. Every lottery makes money for the first couple years, and then they start losing money, and they're impossible to get rid of.
  • by Republican in Ardmore Location: Ardmore on Jan 19, 2008 at 01:02 AM
    I agree with the state legislators to a point. But I feel that the school districts mismanage their funding or just flat out waste it. A lot of these districts I feel over pay their administrators, especially their superintendents. I know in the past, that Ardmore's superintendent used to make over a $100,000 a year! It's too bad that the school boards don't want to put a stop to this. But some boards feel that you have to pay the big money to attract the best administrators, and that's not true. Just because a teacher gets a masters degree or a doctorate doesn't mean they're a good fit for an administrator's position. There's a lot of teachers in this district that have become administrators that have no business being principles or administrators because they lack the know-how or the fit to do the job right. But if the districts are going to start cutting back, leave the teachers alone, and cut the administrators' salary, the pet projects, and play closer to home in athletics.
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