New Rural Advocacy Group Opposes HB2078Thu, 25 Mar 2021 08:32:22 CDT
During a virtual press conference Wednesday by the Rural and Small-Town Round Table of Common Interests, a recently formed advocacy group focusing on rural issues, group chairman Clay Pope voiced opposition to HB2078
The legislation will place greater hardships on rural schools, leading to budget shortfalls, potential teacher layoffs, and in some cases possible consolidation, Pope said.
Itís clear we need to do everything we can to protect our local schools, Pope said.
The bill changes the state funding formula for education, he said.
According to Pope, the measure under consideration, House Bill 2078 authored by Representative Kyle Hilbert of Bristow and Senator Zack Taylor of Seminole, changes the way schools in Oklahoma are funded by taking away from schools the option of using the current three-year enrollment high of students to determine per-pupil state aid and instead requiring that funding for districts to be based on either the current yearís initial enrollment numbers or the previous yearís enrollment.
This means that if a school has lost students due to economic conditions or demographic changes, it has no time to plan for budget cuts and will be forced to lay off teachers and cancel programs immediately.
Also participating in the press conference was Mike Wood, retired OSU economics professor and vice chairman of the group.
Local schools play a vital role in educating young people so they can be successful participants in our economy, Wood said.
The local schools are also a major source of employment for that community, Wood said.
House Bill 2078 has passed the House and is currently under consideration by the State Senate.
Click on the listen bar below to hear more from that press conference.
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