One of the most important times of the year for school finance is upon us. As you prepare for the October 1st reports, we need to mention a few items that should be checked in your student numbers:
If you want to be accurate in your predictive models, it is important to have accurate grade level count and weights. A comparison between the previous three years and this year will be helpful in predicting your mid-term results. The goal here is not to just collect numbers; it’s to try to build a trend line for your district. The difference in State Aid gains per district that were gaining students and districts that lost students was almost a $25 difference per WADM. It is important to keep track of the changes.
One other item that you might want to explore is the amount of ad valorem that can be expected this year versus last year’s allocation. We have been averaging almost a 4% growth annually since 2011. That doesn’t mean everyone is growing at the same rate. If your district is the beneficiary of a large growth in ad valorem, it is important to know if that was a real property, a personal property or a utility property growth. If it was a real property growth, that is traditionally a more stable form of revenue that will not depreciate, but the other two forms of growth may strongly recede in value over the years.
The election may not have gone your way. I must admit, I’m cautiously optimistic about the impact of the new administration. There is one thing I know for sure: the president has a lot of work to do to get this economy moving.
It’s news to no one that our public schools face enormous challenges in virtually every area of operations, including finances. Oklahoma education funding is one of the lowest in the nation and yet mandates remain, leaving schools without the proper resources to support them.
Hopefully you haven't experienced a serious crisis in your school district and the communication nightmare that can follow if you don't keep your publics informed. But if you have, you know how quickly rumors spread, parents and community members get angry and media is notified.
A collection of Oklahoma education-related news of the week.