Legislative report criticizes Oklahoma’s school funding formula

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Oklahoma is not meeting students’ needs when it comes to school funding, according to a new legislative report out Wednesday.

The report is from the Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency (LOFT), which holds the state accountable when it comes to money. LOFT says education funds aren’t properly distributed.

“My greatest concern, which I figured would be a concern, is making sure we have enough financial investment going into the formula,” said Rep. Cyndi Munson (D-Oklahoma City).

Munson was referring to the formula that determines where education money goes.

LOFT delivered the report to lawmakers on Tuesday, publishing several findings, such as how, according to LOFT, the current funding formula doesn’t meet students’ needs; the proportion of funds spent on student instruction remains flat; there’s limited accountability regarding education expenses, and the Legislature lacks access to comprehensive data on education funding.

LOFT also had several recommendations for potential legislation, including increased funds for schools with high concentrations of poverty.

Rep. Mark McBride (R-Moore), who chairs the Education Appropriations subcommittee, said there is room for action, and he wants to focus on making sure more than enough money goes straight to the classroom.

“We need to start line item, and that’s my job too, I need to look at this much for reading, this much for arithmetic, this much for science, this much for whatever,” said McBride.

Lawmakers aren’t in session currently. Any fixes wouldn’t happen immediately. Legislative action would likely take a year.