as public school enrollment increased

As our political leaders work through the annual appropriations and legislative process in Oklahoma City, economic development and the importance of making Oklahoma "business-friendly" is the perennial justification for many of their proposals, from tax cuts to workers comp reform.What's missing is the acknowledgement that Oklahoma will have a hard time luring high-quality employers unless we have a strong,juicy berries in June.,sac longchamp, and fully funded, public education system.While Oklahoma fared better than some states during the Great Recession that began in 2008, we did endure five tough years of belt-tightening. Nothing in the state budget took a harder hit than public education. In fact, as public school enrollment increased, Oklahoma made some of the largest funding cuts in the nation. Only Alabama and Arkansas have made deeper cuts to education funding,Hermes birkin.Perhaps the most disturbing development is that none of the new mandated reforms imposed on our schools have been funded. Programs intended to help students meet new testing standards, such as remedial reading programs,true religion outlet, have had their funding cut. Teacher positions have been eliminated to meet slashed budgets while class sizes have increased.We are setting our schools up for failure by denying resources they need for success.During the recession, diminishing revenues required painful cuts in many areas. But now that revenue is on the rise again, nothing significant has been done to reinvest in education.As of last year state appropriations had increased by $253 million or 3.8 percent and funds were restored to human services, health care, transportation and public safety. No comparable restoration has been made to public school education.The governor's 2013 budget for public education would increase by only $16.7 million or 7 percent as compared to fiscal year 2012. Currently, the total public education budget is 34 percent of the state's appropriations,louboutin shoes outlet, down from 38 percent in 2004. According to the Oklahoma Policy Institute, "total state spending on common and higher education has dropped 11 percent since 2009."Per-pupil spending is down as well. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, average per-pupil spending in fiscal year 2010 was $7,896,burberry outlet online. The national average that year was $10,615.And though we recognize that dollars go farther in Oklahoma than in other parts of the nation, the trend is going in the wrong direction. Public education appropriations are decreasing while the number of students enrolled in our schools is increasing,which means when people with Medicare go home from the hospital. Where is the investment in our future?The League of Women Voters believes that equitable, quality public education is critical for all students - and for the health and prosperity of our communities and our state. We also recognize that "equitable" does not mean equally funded because it generally costs more to educate children with special needs.Governments - federal, state and local - share the responsibility to provide quality education for all children pre-K through grade 12. Public education is a core investment of government in a functioning democracy.Education is also the foundation for a strong economy and future development. Businesses that provide high-quality jobs rely on an increasingly skilled labor force,burberry outlet,a 23-acre estate. They won't relocate to a state or add jobs where they can't count on finding the qualified work force they need now - and will need in the future. And what kind of businesses will be eager to move into a state where its employees' children will be forced to attend under-funded,, sub-par schools?Yes,Louis Vuitton Outlet, we need to make sure we spend our educational dollars wisely. But we cannot expect our schools to deliver the high-quality education our children will need to compete if we're unwilling to invest in them.We strongly appeal to the citizens of Oklahoma to contact your state legislators with one simple message: Invest in public school funding levels that ensure our children have every fair shot at success. It's best for our children. It's best for the state's economy. It will be best for Oklahoma.By Heather Hope-Hernandez is president of the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Tulsa.

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