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New Oklahoma education laws worry local school staff

MIAMI, Okla. –In Oklahoma, the funding formula for public schools is based on enrollment and a weighted average daily membership, or ADM.

Each student is assigned a weight by grade level and other factors. Schools have a weighted ADM for the district and are allocated money based on this. 

They go off records from the current year as well as the two previous years and would be funded off of the highest ADM from that timeframe.

“It does encompass three school years when they look at that and so it gives districts some flexibility and time if they are declining enrollment,” said Jeremy Hogan, Miami Public Schools Superintendent. 

But Oklahoma’s governor just signed a bill into law that would alter the way the state funds districts, basing it off of just the previous year. 

Because enrolment declines in rural areas more than others, this bill would no longer allow smaller Oklahoma communities like Miami the flexibility and time to adjust to these enrollment changes. 

“This legislation will not go into effect until fiscal year 23’, which is a 2022 and 23 school year and we’re working on a long-term budget plan to try and address that. there’s no denying that our students are gonna feel it,” Hogan said.

This bill will not only make it harder for school districts to plan and budget but will also affect the tools teachers use to educate.

Kristi Hammons is a math teacher at Nichol’s upper elementary school and uses hands-on methods to get students to grasp concepts better. but if she were to lose some of these hands-on methods due to funding cuts, her students could suffer.

“I teach math and I am a very hands-on math teacher, and I have lots of manipulatives and hands-on things that we do, and some of those are used year to year. other things are consumable and have to be purchased again so if I don’t have those supplies then that cuts out on the hands-on things I can use in my classroom,” Hammons said.

Meaning students could lose precious learning experiences.

 

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