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Oklahoma school districts face budget shortfalls

BY MEGAN ROLLAND Modified: April 12, 2010 at 5:58 am •  Published: April 12, 2010

/> "We have a carry-over because we know that there are going to be situations that are cyclical where the economy is going to be terrible and we need those funds to get through that,” Springer said, adding that previous administrations should be applauded for the $20.6 million fund balance that is benefiting Oklahoma City today.

Springer said even after using half of the funds, there should still be enough reserves to carry the district through 2011.

"We can always cut, we can always do that. What we can’t always do is undo the harm that is created when (we cut),” Springer said.

Preparing for worst
Several school districts are prepping for the worst in the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Tulsa estimates it will face a budget deficit of at least $13 million that year.

Putnam City’s deficit is near $6 million, according to estimates from the district.

Oklahoma City has declined to speculate on next year’s revenue shortfall until numbers are released from the state in June.

"I can say we are going to do everything we can to try to make it so our kids don’t notice that there is a financial problem in our state,” Springer said, adding that next year, state-mandated step-increases in pay may not be possible.

Without those state-mandated raises, Oklahoma City would save about $5 million.

"We are going to have to go through a year or two where we don’t give any salary increases and we don’t fill all of our positions,” Springer said. "It’s painful but it’s something we have to do.”