Tomorrow (Thursday), the State Board of Education is expected to vote on a budget request to state lawmakers. It will be the first budget request made by Superintendent Janet Barresi and the board which is now made up entirely of members appointed by Governor Mary Fallin over the last eight months. While the Board of Equalization has not yet given preliminary revenue figures, lawmakers are talking about a stand-still budget as higher revenues for this year will have to replace one-time funds put into the current budget. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Board of Education will request a stand-still budget.
Other agencies have already submitted budget requests asking for hundreds of millions more. And in the recent past, the Department of Education has always asked for huge increases, no matter what the state’s financial situation:
- In 2007, the Board requested a budget increase of $395-million which would have made the Common Education budget alone nearly $3-billion.
- In 2008, as presidential candidates debated about how to fix the economy, the State Board of Education wanted an even larger increase, this time $479-million more.
- In 2009, despite the need for federal stimulus funds and talk of a revenue failure that beccame official the following month, the Board of Education still wanted an increase of $226-million.
- Last year, even though everyone was talking about a budget shortfall of close to a billion dollars, the State Board of Education requested a budget increase of $381-million.
The Board agenda will be posted online later today and if there are indications of what the budget request will be, this story will be updated, so be sure to check back. Oklahoma Watchdog will be at tomorrow’s Board meeting, providing live updates via Twitter.