Friday, August 1, 2008

OEA Wants To Waste Even More Of Our Money

Improving Oklahoma Education Doesn’t Mean Throwing Good Money After Bad, Says Americans for Prosperity

OKLAHOMA CITY – Americans for Prosperity (AFP) today said throwing more money at Oklahoma schools is not the solution for education challenges faced by the state. The statement comes on the heels of an announcement by the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) that it would request an additional $850 million from taxpayers to increase per pupil spending.

“We believe that public school funding is either ‘too high’ or ‘about right’ just like the 64 percent of Oklahomans that responded to a recent Friedman Foundation survey,” said AFP Oklahoma Director Stuart Jolly. “Oklahoma schools have enough money. It’s just not being spent wisely.”

According to a recent AFP analysis, just 12 years ago Oklahoma’s entire state budget was $3.4 billion. Today, the education budget alone is $3.8 billion, meaning the state spends more today on Oklahoma’s education system than it did on all state programs just 12 years ago. “And what do Oklahoma students have to show for it?” Jolly asked. “The same grade they did 12 years ago – F.”

Meanwhile, education administrative costs in Oklahoma are three times the average amount for the region. In 2006, Oklahoma spent $753 per student while the average for the region was $242 per student. Oklahoma spends three times more on school administration than Arkansas ($215), Kansas ($258), or Texas ($252). Just 59.7 percent of education dollars are actually spent in the classroom. Putting $500 more per student back in the classroom – or $10,000 per classroom – is a first step toward addressing the state’s failing education system, AFP contends.

Since 1985, Oklahoma’s student population has grown by 7.1 percent, but the administration to take care of those students has grown by 46 percent! And the education budget during this same period has grown from $1.4 billion to $3.8 billion. And where does Oklahoma rank today nationally? The same place it did in 1985 – near the bottom.

AFP is calling for a larger percentage of education dollars to be spent in the classroom and for greater choice in education. When taxpayers and families have more choices, schools will improve.

“Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to throw good money after bad,” Jolly concluded. “Our schools must spend the dollars we have entrusted to them wisely before they even think about asking for more. Ultimately, all families should have more choices when it comes to what schools their children go to.”

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and scope of government is the best safeguard to ensuring individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. AFP educates and engages citizens in support of restraining state and federal government growth, and returning government to its constitutional limits. For more information, visit

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