Jonathan Small | August 26, 2016

Free Market Friday: The $1.5 million press box

Jonathan Small

It’s back-to-school time, which means that budget-conscious parents – spending money on school clothes, backpacks, and more – are setting priorities.

Education officials should do the same.

You wouldn’t know it from media reports, but Oklahoma’s education system had $8.7 billion in total revenue last year, the most in state history. But oftentimes the schools’ spending priorities are real head-scratchers.

Consider, for example, Catoosa Public Schools. Oklahoma Watch reported last week that while Catoosa is switching to a four-day school week and reducing staff, it also (thanks to bond proceeds) bought MacBook computers for all middle- and high-school students and is building a $1.5 million press box at the high school football field.

Staff reductions are understandable. After all, Catoosa’s growth in non-teaching staff has far outpaced student growth over the last two decades, according to data that the Oklahoma State Department of Education reports to the U.S. Department of Education.

While Catoosa’s enrollment increased by 6 percent and the number of teachers increased by 10 percent, non-teaching staff increased by 27 percent. That’s money that could have gone to teacher pay raises. It’s all about setting priorities.

Read the rest over on The Journal Record.

Jonathan Small President

Jonathan Small


Jonathan Small, C.P.A., serves as President and joined the staff in December of 2010. Previously, Jonathan served as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma Office of State Finance, as a fiscal policy analyst and research analyst for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and as director of government affairs for the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Small’s work includes co-authoring “Economics 101” with Dr. Arthur Laffer and Dr. Wayne Winegarden, and his policy expertise has been referenced by The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, National Review, the L.A. Times, The Hill, the Wall Street Journal and the Huffington Post. His weekly column “Free Market Friday” is published by the Journal Record and syndicated in 27 markets. A recipient of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s prestigious Private Sector Member of the Year award, Small is nationally recognized for his work to promote free markets, limited government and innovative public policy reforms. Jonathan holds a B.A. in Accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma and is a Certified Public Accountant.

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