Budget & Tax, Education

Public schools carry over more than $1 billion

January 10, 2022

Ray Carter

Oklahoma public schools carried over more than $1 billion at the end of the 2021 state budget year, marking an increase of more than 50 percent in school savings over the past five years.

The carryover amount is the most ever recorded, based on available records. Statewide data on school districts’ carryover has been publicly posted since 2006.

School carryover has surged 51.6 percent since June 30, 2017, when Oklahoma schools reported carrying over $661.4 million, to a little over $1 billion as of June 30, 2021.

The increase in school savings has been achieved even as districts also boosted teacher pay following salary increases approved by the Legislature in 2018 and 2019.

A recent report from the Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency (LOFT) found that Oklahoma’s average teacher salary now ranks highest in the immediate region and 21st nationally after adjusting for tax burdens and cost-of-living differences.