Miami School District Cutting Jobs to Deal with State Funding Cuts
Revenue shortfalls have Oklahoma school districts losing big dollars and making dramatic changes to deal with funding losses.
In Miami, the district is dealing with cuts of three hundred forty thousand dollars since January. And with more cuts expected, it’s more than jobs being on the chopping block.
Cynthia Eby re-shelved books Thursday at Rockdale Elementary. But she and all the other librarians in the Miami school district are seeing their jobs be eliminated. Because she has tenure, next year she’ll teach first grade, an open position at a different school.
Eby said, “I was glad that I didn ‘ t have to bump somebody. I think riffing is a hard thing. When you bump somebody, they bump somebody else. And it’s just a domino effect and eventually somebody’s gonna be out of a job. That ‘ s the sad thing. People will lose jobs because of this.”
Superintendent Jeremy Hogan said, “Two of them will be bumping someone out of a position. ” Hogan said the district is seeing cuts of eighty to ninety thousand dollars on average a month. They’ve already tapped into fund balances so besides jobs they’re considering cutting sports. At the high school swimming, golf and tennis are being looked at for possible elimination. And Hogan explained, “At the middle school we offer basketball for sixth graders. That ‘ s the only sport we offer for our sixth graders and we’re looking at eliminating sixth grade basketball as well. ”
Eby said that would be unfortunate. She said, “A lot of the older kids, that ‘ s why they come to school. It ‘ s a sad situation when you can ‘ t make a well-rounded child.”
While Rockdale is only losing a librarian, currently there are two classes for each grade level, but if there are openings they may not be filled and that could affect classes sizes.”
Rockdale principal Andrea Berry said, “When talking early childhood, the more eyes and hands you have to manage little people it helps. Larger class sizes, less one on one, it ‘ s not great. Not a good scenario.”
At the high school course offerings are to be cut, most likely electives.
Principal Lisa Munson said that has a ripple effect, “What would happen is class sizes are going to go up, because if we don ‘ t have enough electives to accommodate then you’re class sizes go up.”
Hogan stressed, “We’re doing a great disservice to our students.”
Declining enrollment may help with the class size issue but it means more lost money next year. Hogan said an estimated seven hundred thousand dollars.
Eby and others expressed concern, “I think it ‘ s that there ‘ s worse to come. It ‘ s just the start. I have a fear.”
Other districts are hurting too. Since January, Quapaw school district has lost eighty-two thousand dollars while Commerce school district is down one hundred fifty thousand dollars.
State representative Ben Loring says lawmakers are asking the Department of Education for an explanation. He says funding should be there for district monthly payments. But he concedes state revenues are coming in below expectations. And he said the state of Oklahoma is facing a one point two billion dollar shortfall in its next budget.