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Governor approves emergency funds for public schools



Gov. Brad Henry's office announced today he approved $11.5 million in emergency funding for Oklahoma public schools.


An official statement also said Henry indicated kindergarten through 12th-grade education will need additional supplemental funding to help address a funding shortfall this fiscal year.

"As I said last week, this is only a first step to addressing the immediate funding needs of our public schools," Henry said in a statement. "There is no question that K-12 education needs additional money, and I will be working with legislative leaders to provide that as quickly as possible."

The governor and state lawmakers are trying to fill a revenue shortfall in the House Bill 1017 fund, an account that supplements the schools' budget.

Senate Bill 1354 by Sen. Mike Johnson and Rep. Ken Miller provides $10 million to cover part of the shortfall and another $1.5 million to address needs in the Academic Achievement Award program.  

The emergency funding ensures that schools will receive their full funding allocation for the month of April, but additional appropriations will be needed for the remaining two months of the fiscal year.

When Henry and legislative leaders agreed to the $11.5 million appropriation last week, they made clear their commitment to provide additional supplemental funding to schools to fill the rest of the 1017 fund shortfall. State officials are awaiting final revenue collection numbers to determine how large an appropriation is necessary.

"We will keep the commitment we made to fill the education shortfall.  The schools need this money to end their school year in an orderly manner," Henry said. -Gazette staff

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