Changing the date on school funding


Public schools in Pottawatomie and Lincoln Counties took a hit in their recent midterm adjustments.

There are a total of 23 school districts between the two counties. All but one of those suffered cuts at mid-term, some substantially.

The only district that gained was North Rock Creek. That primarily can be attributed to their adding another grade to the high school beginning this school year and having to add a couple of elementary classes.

Even though NRC received more than a $824,000 increase at mid-term, that amount is under what Supt. Blake Moody estimated last August it might be.

If there is a common denominator for the majority of public schools losing out in the mid-term adjustments it appears it’s the amount of money going to EPIC

Charter Schools.

A scathing report was released last October on EPIC Charter Schools and all related entities following an investigative audit by the State Auditor and Inspector.

Gov. Kevin Stitt requested the investigative audit.

As a result of that audit, the State Department of Education determined EPIC owed them between $8 and $10 million.

Still, figures show the State Department of Education handed EPIC Blended a mid-term adjustment increase of more than $62.8 million and EPIC One-on-One more than $92.8 million, nearly a $93 million increase at midterm, earlier this month.

Comparatively, some Public Schools are expected to absorb into their budgets sizable losses during the middle of the year, when in fact, they’ve gained many of their students back.

Good examples of that are Chandler and Meeker in Lincoln County that suffered midterm adjustment losses respectively of $285,441.86 and $246,789. Those are 7.79 and 8 percent losses.

Several of the school superintendents explained recently what is happening. Some of their students sign up for EPIC during the summer or at the start of school.

As those superintendents have told us, Oct. 1 each school year is the key date. That’s when schools have to submit what their enrollments are to the State Department of Education and EPIC’s shows a huge increase, they say.

But after Oct. 1, when the schools have had to submit their numbers, they start gaining some of their students back for various reasons. Yet, what their mid-term adjustments are based on are those enrollment figures they had to submit on Oct. 1.

Three superintendents each related that when those students who signed up with EPIC come back to them, they are behind. Each one said their teachers must spend time catching those students up using their district’s resources to do so.

We suggest the State Department of Education change what the superintendents have told us is the key date of Oct. 1 until later in the semester like Nov. 15 or Dec. 1 to provide a clearer picture of what enrollments really are.

That might level the playing field and eliminate the huge discrepancies in midterm adjustments.