K-12 Budget: $2.3 billion
Oklahoma made national headlines in 2018 when teachers walked out of classrooms and stormed the statehouse to demand higher pay and more funding for their classrooms.
And the data show the state does struggle with school finance. It ranked 44th out of 49 states on the School Finance Index, where its weaknesses include a ranking of 46th in per-pupil spending.
Superintendents say funding shortfalls and low teacher salaries have exacerbated teacher shortages. Districts in surrounding states, like Arkansas and Texas, often offer more-competitive pay, and some even post billboards to recruit Oklahoma teachers. State lawmakers sought to address that in 2018 by enacting a $6,000 teacher pay increase.
One bright spot in the state’s school funding is equity, where it ranked 14th and earns a grade of B-plus.
The state’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan calls for improving teacher recruitment and retention through additional training and leadership opportunities. It also includes supports for nonacademic barriers to learning, like hunger, by calling for expanded use of universal free meals and breakfast in the classroom programs.
For more about Oklahoma’s Quality Counts score, click here.
Note: Enrollment is for the 2018-19 school year, and budget figure is for the 2019 fiscal year.
Research assistance from intern Héctor Alejandro Arzate.