22-year error to impact Oklahoma school funding

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TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The state school superintendent says miscalculations in Oklahoma's school funding formula since 1992 will soon cause a number of mid-year adjustments worth millions of dollars.

The Tulsa World reported Friday (http://bit.ly/1Cbgvv0 ) that a Ponca City school official had noted that a state law caps agricultural and commercial personal property taxes at 11 percent. State Superintendent Janet Barresi said the cap has not been in place.

"We agree the change does need to be made, but frankly, we do not know when it can happen," Barresi told the state Board of Education.

Barresi said some districts will see an increase in state funding while others will see a drop. The Oklahoma Tax Commission says new calculations won't be available until next month. Midyear adjustment figures are due Jan. 15.

"Some districts will see a sizable increase in state dollars; more districts will see a decrease," she said.

In a statement, the Oklahoma City Public Schools said it would receive a windfall.

"This issue affects a large number of school districts in our state and for Oklahoma City Public Schools it means approximately a $2 million increase in funds that will go directly to benefit the students in our district," said Scott Randall, the district's chief financial officer.

Ponca City Superintendent David Pennington told the Tulsa World he first raised the issue a decade ago but that no one in local or state governments understood the problem. He said he appreciated Barresi addressing the error prior to leaving office next month.

"I wish she would have said, 'We're not sending out the midyear adjustment until it's right,' but I appreciate her taking this on. She could have just washed her hands of it and let the next state superintendent deal with it," he said.


Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

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