The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

February 4, 2013

Hime: Gov. Fallin missed the mark

ENID, Okla. — Enid Public Schools superintendent Shawn Hime considered Gov. Mary Fallin’s State of the State address dismal.

“I will tell you, it was about as depressing a State of the State address as I’ve heard in my years in education and in my years as an Oklahoma resident,” Hime told the members of the school board in a special planning meeting Monday evening.

Hime said state funding for education is down $477 for each of the district’s 7,529 students. However, the school district is gaining students, and thus garnering more money from the state.

“Our state aid from July went up with our additional students,” Hime said.

But overall, collections and revenue for the district are “pretty flat, or might even be down for this year,” Hime said.

Board president Willa Jo Fowler minced no words.

“I feel like right now, we’ve got two parties that are like two teenagers playing chicken,” she said.

Hime pointed out the federal government awards money to states based on each state’s per-student spending, so a hit from the state means another hit from the federal government.

Chief Financial Officer Karl White said the district is in better financial health than many smaller districts.

“We are very fortunate that, as a district, we are in a growth period,” White said. “The are other districts that are losing students.

No decisions were on the table during Monday’s meeting, held to discuss planning for the 2013-14 school year.

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