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Let's Talk Budget - State Cuts to Education and What it Means for JPS

Please return to this page over the next several weeks as information about the JPS budget will be changed and updated.  Thank you!

 
A Message from the Superintendent of Jenks Public Schools, Dr. Stacey Butterfield
 
THE EXTENT OF THE CUTS
In December of 2015, state officials announced a 3-percent cut to public education in the amount of $46.7 million.  A second revenue failure was announced in early March that led to an additional 4-percent cut in funding in the amount of $62.3 million.  In the 2015-16 school year, state funding for public education has been cut by $109 million.  For Jenks Public Schools, this means a loss of $558,000, a number which factors in the Rainy Day funds received from the state.
 
Additional cuts are expected prior to June 30, 2016.  Looking ahead to the 2016-17 school year, state officials are anticipating another massive revenue shortfall of $1.3 billion.  At this time, the anticipated cut for Jenks Public Schools is $3.68 million for the 2016-17 school year. The cumulative cuts from this school year and the 2016-17 school year are estimated at $4.24 million.
 
COMMON QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS

How many teachers and staff positions will be cut?

After careful consideration of the District's growing enrollment, the needs of students and staff, and the necessity of balancing the budget, the $1.1 million cut to Jenks Public Schools’ personnel includes a net loss of 10 teachers and 19 administrative/support positions. More details on these positions and the impact throughout the District will be available in the coming weeks when the reduction process is complete.
 
Will specific programs be cut?
District leaders will evaluate all programs and will strive to keep these cuts to a minimum. Site and department budgets have already been reduced and several district contracts have been eliminated.  In addition, the District's fund balance, which is similar to the Rainy Day Fund used by the state government, will be amended to offset additional cuts to classrooms.
 
Can the state tap into its Rainy Day Fund?
Yes.  On March 10, state leaders agreed to tap into the Rainy Day Fund to provide $51 million to public education in order to relieve some of the burden from the recent cuts. 
 
Will the funding situation be better or worse for the 2016-17 school year?
Reductions made this year will carry forward into next year.  If a staff position is cut this year, that position will not be restored for the 2016-17 school year.  Due to a drop in oil and gas prices and a shortage in revenue collections by the state, a shortfall of $1.3 billion is expected for Fiscal Year 2017 which begins on July 1, 2016. 
 
Can bond dollars be used to make up for the budget shortfall?
Unfortunately, Oklahoma state law dictates that public schools can only use bond dollars for material items such as textbooks, technology, and equipment or for capital improvements like new construction projects and renovations to existing buildings.  Bond dollars cannot be used to pay for employee salaries or fund new staff positions.
 
How can I help Jenks Public Schools during this difficult time?
You can help Jenks Public Schools by participating in the Trojan20 campaign through the Jenks Public Schools Foundation. The Jenks Public Schools Foundation is partnering with the District to launch Trojan 20—a new fundraising campaign designed to cultivate small donations on a large scale. The fundraising goal is to raise $20 for each Trojan student that attends JPS.  Funds raised will support instructional budgets—specifically school site budgets, instructional supplies and equipment, and professional development for instructional staff. During this budget crisis, every single donation is meaningful to our students and our schools.  Click this link to make a tax-deductible donation now!
 
QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE JPS BUDGET
 
92% of Jenks Public Schools' annual budget is devoted to salaries and benefits for employees.
 
85% of JPS employees are assigned to school sites.
 
15% of JPS employees are assigned to departments.
 
State law limits administrative costs to 5% of a school district's annual budget. Jenks Public Schools operates well below the state maximum with administrative costs at only 3.2% of the annual budget.
 
Per-pupil funding has dramatically decreased over the last seven years. If Jenks Public Schools was funded at the same per-pupil level as 2008-09, the District would have an additional $4 million. 
 
Want to learn more about school finance and how schools are funded? Click here to learn the ABC's of School Finance from the Oklahoma Policy Institute.
 
STATEMENTS FROM JENKS PUBLIC SCHOOLS' OFFICIALS
 
“While enrollment in Jenks and most other districts has steadily increased over the last several years, state funding has not increased to match the rising student population.  Although we try to identify several areas where our budget can be cut when we encounter these declines in revenue, at this time, we are also forced to look at a minimal reduction in the number of teachers in our District which could result in larger class sizes.”
Cody Way, Chief Financial Officer for Jenks Public Schools
 
“As a parent of students in Jenks Public Schools, it is extremely frustrating to hear about another round of cuts to public education because our schools in Oklahoma are already facing so many challenges.  The best interest of all students will always be a priority for my fellow School Board members and I as well as the leaders of our District as we are considering difficult decisions related to the budget.  I would urge all parents to learn more about this budget crisis, to ask questions, and to voice their concerns.”
Tracy Kennedy, President of the Jenks School Board
 
Click through the graphics below to get a better understanding of the challenges facing public education. 
 
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