Miami School District to Lose Significant Amount of State Funding
The Miami, Oklahoma School District is facing significant cuts in state funding over the next few years, something the superintendent says the district relies heavily on. The reason they’re seeing the cuts could have to do with the economic climate of the surrounding area.
The halls of Miami High School are full of students going to class but the district has actually seen a drop in enrollment over several years.
“Particularly over the last 7 we’ve lost 340 kids, but the last 2 we lost 180 students,” says Superintendent Jeremy Hogan.
Hogan says districts are funded based on each student’s “weight” which takes into account factors like grade level and special education. Since 2010, the district has lost 540 student weights which will result in $700,000 of state funding cuts.
“When you talk about $700,000, that means positions are going to have to be cut,” says Hogan.
They’re taking a hard look at the budget to avoid cutting direct instruction positions, but why are so many students leaving the district?
“I went down and visited with the city and looked at that and it pretty much aligns to meters, meaning people are just leaving the area. We’re not necessarily losing these students to transfers or going to home schools, the majority of them are leaving the area, their parents are leaving the area for job opportunities,” says Hogan.
Steve Gilbert with the Miami Chamber of Commerce says while there are opportunities available, the local economy can struggle at times.
“It’s like a teeter totter, sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down. I think the overall economy and economic climate in Oklahoma certainly has ripple effects throughout,” says Gilbert.
Proof of that, 75 percent of the school district population qualifies for the free or reduced lunch program or is living in poverty. But if more families leave, more funding will be cut.
The school district also decided not to go to a four day school week. Hogan says it’s in part because research shows it impacts students living in poverty negatively.