Steve Anderson | April 6, 2017

10 things you’ll learn with our education finance data tool

Steve Anderson

It’s not surprising that the education finance data tool is one of the most popular destinations on the OCPA website. This helpful, easy-to-use tool provides a wealth of data compiled from the Oklahoma Cost Accounting System and provided by the State Department of Education. I encourage you to spend some time on the website to see what you find. Here are 10 interesting facts I discovered on a recent visit.

  1. The Reydon school district spent $43,817 per student on 123 students while Epic One on One Charter School spent $4,786 per student on 5,631 students.
  2. In FY-2016 public school expenditures totaled $559,282,418 for “facilities acquisition and construction.” This is by far the fastest-growing category of school expenditures, having grown by 30 percent since 2012.
  3. In FY-2016 Oklahoma public schools devoted 44 percent of their total expenditures to instruction.
  4. Since 2012, instruction has grown by 2 percent while non-instructional operations have grown by 5 percent.
  5. The state’s two largest school districts (Oklahoma City and Tulsa) were given $1,171,697,399 to spend in 2016—but they spent only $912,953,502, leaving 22 percent of the funds citizens gave them sitting in their accounts.
  6. Schools are also tax collectors: In 2016 they spent $16,774,312 on “tax assessment and collection services.”
  7. Last year public schools spent $151,069,368 on “vehicle operation services” and another $46,920,407 on “vehicle servicing and maintenance.” Perhaps it’s time to start leasing vehicles and sharing them between districts.
  8. Since 2010, the amount of direct federal funding to the Oklahoma City school district has fallen from $99,313,879 to $61,683,025, despite increasing federal requirements for schools. Perhaps citizens should be complaining about the former Obama Administration instead of pointing solely to our state’s political leaders.
  9. The single largest cash item on statewide public school revenue sheets is account balances from prior years.
  10. In terms of spending per student, 11 of the 12 lowest-cost districts are charter school districts, ranging from $6,688 to $4,786.

Steve Anderson

Contributing Author

A Certified Public Accountant with more than 30 years of experience in private practice, he is currently a partner at Anderson, Reichert & Anderson LLC. Anderson spent two years as a budget analyst in the Oklahoma Office of State Finance, and most recently served as budget director for the State of Kansas. At one time he held 17 state teaching certifications ranging from mathematics to physics to business.

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