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  • Overview of state funding system for schools At the request of a local community group, Granger Meador, the district's Exec. Dir. of Technology & Communications, prepared an overview of the school funding mechanisms in Oklahoma. He states ...
    Posted May 7, 2018, 11:42 AM by Granger Meador
  • State school funding overview as of April 19, 2018 The video and slideshow presentation linked below provide an overview of Oklahoma's funding for its public schools as of late April 2018, after a bill providing much-needed teacher ...
    Posted Apr 20, 2018, 1:45 PM by Granger Meador
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Overview of state funding system for schools

posted May 7, 2018, 5:57 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated May 7, 2018, 11:42 AM ]

At the request of a local community group, Granger Meador, the district's Exec. Dir. of Technology & Communications, prepared an overview of the school funding mechanisms in Oklahoma. He states, "This document provides an overview of how public schools are funded in Oklahoma, including their reliance on a funding formula to promote vertical equity, and how those funding mechanisms evolved."

Funding Mechanisms Report

Other presentations on school funding

In the spring of 2018 Meador also presented to the Arvest Financial Forum about the current state of school funding. Below is an updated version of that slideshow, reflecting the possibility that a veto referendum could delay teacher raises by up to a year and thus prolong and probably worsen the critical teacher shortage even if voters rejected the attempt to scuttle new taxes to fund teacher raises.

2018 05 07 School Funding Overview


State school funding overview as of April 19, 2018

posted Apr 20, 2018, 1:40 PM by Granger Meador   [ updated Apr 20, 2018, 1:45 PM ]

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The video and slideshow presentation linked below provide an overview of Oklahoma's funding for its public schools as of late April 2018, after a bill providing much-needed teacher raises was signed into law. The video and slideshow cover the history of school funding cuts, their impacts, key new laws from spring 2018, and the remaining challenges. Some information specific to the Bartlesville Public Schools is included.




State education funding update as of 4/1/2018

posted Apr 1, 2018, 10:42 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Apr 2, 2018, 3:21 PM ]

Fallin signs teacher pay raises into law
In late March 2018 the legislature, pressured by an impending statewide teacher walkout on April 2, passed and the governor signed into law enough new revenues to fully fund:
  • teacher pay raises
  • school support employee pay raises
  • restoration of the state textbooks activity fund
  • the annual increase in school employee health insurance benefits
  • some additional operational funding through the state aid formula

As of April 1, Governor Fallin had also signed into law the teacher pay raises while the bill with the education appropriation authority for the remaining items as well as the school support pay raise bill had been sent to her but not yet signed.


However, the legislature also sent to the governor a bill for state employee pay raises, and there was not sufficient new revenue yet signed into law to fully cover that cost. So while the increased education funding seems secure to cover the costs of the various school measures, how the legislature will balance the budget and cover that state worker pay raise is yet to be determined.



Fiscal summary:
  • The Governor has signed into law what the Oklahoma Tax Commission estimates as $496,385,450 million in new revenue available for appropriation for the next fiscal year.
  • The legislature has passed and sent to the Governor a bill appropriating $480,188,942 for the schools, and the House Majority Floor Leader indicated it would be used as follows:
    • $353,501,793 for teacher pay raises
    • $52,000,000 for school support employee pay raises
    • $33,000,000 for textbooks
    • $24,687,149 to cover Flexible Benefits Allowance costs
    • $17,000,000 additional through the State Aid formula
  • OUTSIDE OF EDUCATION, the legislature also sent to the Governor a bill for state employee pay raises which would cost $63,765,398. But the remaining new revenue is only $16,196,508. So there is a $47,568,890 gap that would have to be dealt with by one or more of the following options:
    • Further new revenues to provide that increased appropriation authority
    • Tapping growth revenue, revolving funds, and/or one-time accounts
    • Decreasing appropriations to agencies other than the State Department of Education (or passing and having Governor Fallin accept a reduction in the SDE appropriation already sent to her for consideration, which is highly unlikely)

What are teachers demanding in their walk out?

On 4/2, the teacher demands seemed to be coalescing around two main issues:

DETAILS ON EACH SCHOOL FUNDING AREA

Teacher Pay Raises

The State Minimum Teacher Salary Schedule has been increased from $5,001 for a teacher with a bachelor's degree and no teaching experience to $8,395 for a teacher with a doctoral degree and 25 or more years of teaching experience. The raises range from 15.8 to 18.25%.
The Governor has been sent but as of 4/1 had not yet signed HB 1026xx to provide a raise of $1,250 for school support employees. It includes a provision to pro-rate the raise for employees who are not full time.

However, this raise would not apply to outsourced employees since they are not employed by the district, and the district would also not expect increased state funding for outsourced positions. In 2017-18 that includes our district's custodians, school-age care workers, and lawn services. In 2018-19 that would also likely include child nutrition workers, although the outsourcing of that group is expected to result in improved performance on worker benefits.

Restoration of the State Textbooks Activity Fund

In 2016 the state eliminated $33,000,000 in funding for textbooks. That will be restored and available for the 2019 textbook adoption of Language Arts & Instructional Technology (which does NOT include Reading & Literature).

This will yield less than the cost of one typical textbook per student per year, but would still be a considerable boost to the district, which currently must rely entirely on school bond funding for textbooks.

The textbooks purchased now and in the future for our secondary schools will consist of electronic licenses for use with take-home Chromebooks, with a limited number of physical copies. Elementary schools will still rely on physical copies until more elementary-age devices are available.

Annual Increase in School Employee Health Insurance Benefits

The House Majority Leader indicated that the increased cost in FY19 of the state Flexible Benefit Allowance as state health insurance premiums rise should be covered at no cost to the district.

Some Additional Operational Funding through the State Aid Formula

The House Majority Leader indicated that $17,000,000 in new revenue will flow to districts through the State Aid formula. However, the district is already facing a loss of funding due to enrollment factors, and the increase in State Aid will not offset that. So we are not expecting any net new revenue to help us address class sizes, instructional supply budgets, or restoration of electives or programs.

False Rumors

Bartlesville's leadership on the funding issues can be a double-edged sword. We have seen claims the district made some sort of deal with legislators to only participate for one day in a walkout in exchange for them passing something resembling the Bartlesville plan.

That is absolutely untrue. Our teachers were at the multiple input meetings we had almost every day last week, with many at the general meeting last Thursday when teachers spoke freely on all sides of the walkout issue. The group consensus at that point was to walk out on Monday and plan to return to class on Tuesday.

Once our teachers reached an obvious new consensus that a longer walkout was justified, our superintendent used the school board's authorization to extend the walkout. 

Bartlesville has led the way this year, and is willing to continue to lead or to follow if called upon to do so. Sounds like the OEA and other groups are working on a specific plan, and we Bartians love plans - because they work!

District Budget Update for the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year

posted Apr 18, 2017, 12:12 PM by Granger Meador   [ updated Apr 18, 2017, 12:13 PM ]

Chuck McCauley
This headline from KOTV created quite a stir on Thursday, April 13, 2017: State Lacks Cash For April School Payrolls Prompting Another School Budget Cut.

Knowing we had to build up our depleted fund balance, our district made significant personnel cuts before August 2016 to reduce our annual expenditures by $1.2 million. At this point, we are on track for a net cut of approximately $900,000 in state funding. So the conservative budget the Board of Education adopted last summer means we will have no problem making our payrolls.

Additionally, in August 2016 the Bartlesville community voted overwhelmingly to increase property taxes in order to shift at least an additional $700,000 in annual operating expenses from the district’s general fund to bond funds.  Because we received bond funds in the middle of this school year, we were able to shift about $450,000 for this fiscal year. We will shift a minimum of $700,000 for 2017-2018.


We continue to make tough decisions such as streamlining administrative positions. Those reductions will reduce our annual district expenditures by approximately $160,000, adding to $292,000 in annual savings created by the elimination of three central office administrative positions for the 2016-2017 school year. We do not anticipate other significant personnel reductions will be needed.

So our budget priorities for 2017-2018 have not changed. They are to:

  • rebuild the district fund balance
  • protect existing programs
  • expand STEM curricula into the elementary schools
  • expand use of instructional technology
  • recruit and retain talented teachers by maintaining class sizes, providing salary increases, and improving school culture

The state revenue failures mean our district fund balance at the end of the fiscal year will be around 7%, whereas a few months ago we were on track to end at around 10%.   

Chuck McCauley   

Bond issues help prevent staffing cuts

posted Mar 23, 2017, 6:36 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Apr 23, 2017, 10:45 AM by District Webmaster ]

The successful August 2016 bond issues for the Bartlesville Public Schools were motivated primarily by repeated shortfalls in state funding in early 2016. Repeated cuts in state funding since 2008 had led to a reduction in the district fund balance from 15% to below 6%, a level too low to ensure it could cover its December payroll as it awaited receipt of property tax revenues in January.

So for the 2016-2017 school year, the district cut 5% of its teachers and additional administrators and support staff to address the continued loss of revenue from the state. But the district wisely did not trust that the state economy would improve nor that the legislature and governor would adequately fund public education and other state services. Since state leaders had failed to address school funding shortfalls since 2008, the district decided to seek help from local voters.

State Leads Nation in School Funding Cuts

Nearly 27 percent of state per pupil funding, adjusted for inflation, has been cut since 2008. That figure not only leads the nation but is nearly double the percentage of cuts made by Alabama, the second worst state for education funding reductions.


LOCAL VOTERS SHOW THEIR SUPPORT

The district went to voters in August 2016, asking them to increase local property taxes in order to shift at least $700,000 in additional annual operating expenses from the district's general fund to bond funds. The district projected that 15 or more teaching positions could be preserved from future cuts by this action. Local voters overwhelmingly approved, with 70% and 73% voting YES on two bond issues.

MORE STATE REVENUE FAILURES

During the current school year, the state has again had revenue failures in both its general fund and in dedicated funding sources for public schools. Preston Birk, the district's Chief Financial Officer, reported on 3/20/2017 to the Bartlesville Board of Education that the district is down $380,000 in state appropriated revenue from the already dismal funding from the prior year. At the current pace, he projected the district might be losing an additional $900,000 in state funding over the entire 2016-2017 school year.

BOND ISSUES ARE HELPING PREVENT ADDITIONAL TEACHER CUTS

The good news is that the district is currently NOT planning on any reduction in teachers nor an increase in average class sizes for 2017-2018 despite the continued reduction in state funding. The shifting of expenses to the bond issues is clearly a key reason for that happy outcome, along with additional administrative streamlining for 2017-2018 and the staffing cuts already implemented in 2016-2017.

FUND BALANCE SLOWLY RECOVERING

Mr. Birk reported that, with the staffing cuts and shifting of expenses to bond funds, the fund balance is projected to be around the minimum safe 7% level by the end of the fiscal year.

YOUR SCHOOLS NEED HELP FROM YOUR STATE GOVERNMENT

Oklahoma is in an education funding crisis. Teacher salaries are so low that Bartlesville and other districts statewide are unable to find certified teachers for all open positions, even with large staffing cuts. 

District operating revenues are so low that the district has had to ask voters to raise local property taxes to make up for the massive reductions in state funding. If, as projected, the district loses another $900,000 in state funding by the end of this school year, that will exceed the operational expense shifts provided by the bond issues. So the remaining loss and any additional future cuts  not covered by growth in local revenue will have to be borne by past and future staffing cuts.

Bartlesville voters can be proud that their support is why their district has some of the lowest average class sizes among the state's large 6A districts. But until there is a change in attitude and support for schools in state government, the district will continue to be unable to find enough certified teachers to fill open positions. And if funding shortfalls are not addressed, eventually the district will be forced to cut more teachers and raise class sizes further.

State funding cuts

Administrative streamlining for 2017-2018

posted Feb 3, 2017, 8:46 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Feb 21, 2017, 6:03 AM ]

The Bartlesville Board of Education approved a plan to further streamline administrative positions for the 2017-2018 school year at its meeting on February 20, 2017. Four administrative positions will be eliminated at the end of the 2016-2017 school year and two new positions created in a consolidation and reorganization of the district’s athletics and high school administration. As part of the process, four administrators currently occupying the eliminated positions will be non-reemployed at the end of the 2016-2017 school year. The affected administrators are eligible to apply for the two newly created positions and other open positions in the district.

The board approved the elimination of the position of Director of Athletics at the end of the current school year. Tim Bart occupies that position and was head coach of the high school varsity boys basketball team from 2000-2014. He has been the district’s Director of Athletics since 2011. A new position of Director of Athletics & Activities will be created and filled, adding responsibility over school activities to the current athletic director functions.

The board also approved the elimination of the position of Assistant Director of Athletics at the end of the current school year. Terry Hughes has occupied that position since 2012.  He coached sports and taught social studies for many years at Madison Middle School. The Assistant Director of Athletics position became a full-time administrator position in 2013.  The board also approved the elimination of the position of Bruin Academy Dean at the end of the current school year. Josh Waddell was hired in 2016 for that new position, overseeing the 9-12 alternative high school program housed in Custer Stadium. A new combined position of Bruin Academy Principal and Assistant Director of Athletics will be created and filled.

The board also approved the elimination of one of the four Assistant Principal positions at Bartlesville High School. Jennifer Stahl occupies the Assistant Principal position that is being reduced. She was hired as an assistant principal at Bartlesville Mid-High in 2012 and transitioned to the current campus in 2015. The duties of the eliminated position will be absorbed into the duties of the remaining assistant principals and principal at the high school.

Bartlesville Superintendent of Schools Chuck McCauley recommended the changes with great regret, citing how state aid money for the district is falling short of projections with two state revenue shortfalls this school year on top of multiple revenue shortfalls in the prior school year. The streamlining will reduce annual district expenditures by approximately $160,000, adding to $292,000 in annual savings created by the elimination of three central office administrative positions for the the 2016-2017 school year. Supt. McCauley stated that the employees associated with the positions being eliminated have done nothing wrong and the changes are based on financial circumstances. He has noted that passage of a bond issue in August 2016 is helping the district, as intended, to shift expenses and avoid cuts in teaching staff.

Supt. McCauley indicated he does not anticipate other significant personnel reductions will be needed. Pointing out that the district has been planning since the spring of 2016 to add an Executive Director of Technology & Communications in July 2017, he said he expects additional technology-related staffing increases will be needed to successfully implement a multi-year 1:1 computing initiative. That program is one of the district budget priorities for 2017-2018, along with rebuilding the district fund balance, protecting existing programs, expanding STEM curricula into the elementary schools, and recruiting and retaining talented teachers by maintaining class sizes, providing salary increases, and improving school culture.

Periodic updates on the district’s budget development process are being posted on the district's website at bps-ok.org under Budget Development in the Quick Links.

Budget Priorities for the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year

posted Feb 2, 2017, 8:59 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Feb 22, 2017, 6:36 PM ]

Bartlesville Public Schools

District Budget Priorities for the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year


Some additional administrative positions will be eliminated and restructured for the 2017-2018 fiscal year to streamline district operations.  It is NOT anticipated that other significant personnel reductions will be needed. The district’s budget priorities for the 2017-2018 fiscal year include:

  • Rebuild the fund balance - The fund balance in June 2016 was below 6%,  which led to personnel reductions to ensure the district could make its December payroll as it awaited receipt of annual property taxes. Those reductions and a successful bond issue that diverts some expenses from the General Fund to bond funds should help rebuild the fund balance to a bit below 10%. That should be large enough to ride out additional state revenue cuts.

  • Recruit and retain talented teachers - The teacher shortage is the biggest threat to public education in Oklahoma. The district must be prepared to fill known vacancies earlier than in the past: March instead of June.

    • Maintain class sizes - Maintain the current average class sizes of 22 for elementary, 26­ for middle school, and 27 for high school core classes.

    • Provide salary increases - At least fund the usual step increase in the teacher salary schedule, and do more if possible to improve salaries.

    • Improve school culture - Build a culture to make the district a great place to work. Involve staff in the decision-making process, ensure ideas are heard and considered, tailor professional development to fit staff needs instead of one-size-fits-all, and provide resources to address changing demographics.

  • Protect programs - Continue to offer a wide range of academic and extracurricular offerings for our students.

  • Expand STEM - Expand Science, Technology, Engineering and Math opportunities by expanding Project Lead the Way curricula from high school and middle school down into all elementary schools via Launch modules.

  • Expand use of instructional technology - Invest in technology resources, including infrastructure, devices, training, and additional staffing, to successfully implement a multi-year 1:1 computing initiative to better prepare students for a future in which technological literacy will be critical to most occupations.

Priorities

District Budget Development Committee

posted Feb 1, 2017, 1:34 PM by Granger Meador   [ updated Feb 2, 2017, 2:33 AM by District Webmaster ]

The budget for the Bartlesville Public School District for the 2017-2018 fiscal year is currently under development. A Budget Development Committee began monthly meetings in January to develop a budget that will be recommended in the spring to the Board of Education for its consideration. A final budget will not be adopted by the Board until early June, after the state legislative session is over and its impact on district finances can be assessed.

Superintendent McCauley's goal is to be as transparent as possible as the Committee works through the process, while respecting the privacy of various personnel issues that inevitably arise with staffing changes.

Budget Committee

The district positions represented on the district Budget Development Committee are the same as they have been for almost two decades, although over time the people occupying those positions have of course changed. The 2017 committee members are:
  • Mr. Chuck McCauley, Superintendent
  • Mr. Preston Birk, Chief Financial Officer
  • Dr. Stephanie Curtis, Executive Director of Personnel & School Support
  • Mr. Jason Langham, Executive Director of Special Services & High School
  • Ms. Dianne Martinez, Executive Director of Elementary & Middle Schools
  • Ms. Rachel Hough, Bartlesville Education Association Chief Negotiator & STEM teacher at Madison Middle School
  • Mr. Robert Snellgrove, Bartlesville Education Classified Personnel Organization President & district maintenance staff member
  • Mr. Ryan Huff, Secondary School Principal
  • Mr. Ken Copeland, Elementary School Principal
  • Mr. Rick Boswell, School Board Member
  • Mr. Randy Herren, School Board Member
  • Mr. Kevin Sitton, School Board Member

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