Published: January 6, 2005
Oklahoma is conducting a “legislative interim study” to review its school finance system, focused on how to determine a base foundation level that would drive the state’s foundation formula. The foundation level for the 2004-05 school year is $2,618, but the state is considering using the concept of adequacy to determine that amount in the future. The state is investigating choosing a select group of successful schools and basing the foundation level on actual expenditures in those districts. Currently, the school finance formula multiplies the foundation level by a weighted student enrollment. The weighted enrollment includes adjustments for the number of special education students, English-language learners, students in poverty, and those in gifted-and-talented programs. Oklahoma also makes adjustments in its formula for small schools, different grade levels, teacher experience and education, and the geographic isolation of districts. Oklahoma also has 27 categorical programs that provide money for such efforts as reading initiatives, professional development, textbooks, employee health benefits, and teacher retirement. The total spent on those programs for fiscal 2004 was $412 million. In November, voters approved measures that will create a new state lottery and dedicate a portion of its revenue to schools.
Vol. 24, Issue 17, Page 70