School officials in districts facing budget cuts are making crucial decisions in program funding. Budget shortfalls caused by the poor economy mean education of Oklahoma’s future leaders could hang in the balance. “The main focus points of education are being overlooked,” Carl Albert High School student Erin Epperly said. “Some are promoting things that either detract from the main point or are simply not necessary.” Students already stressed by ACT scores and grades worry over the future of extracurricular programs. “They are all good ways for kids to make amazing friends with the same interests and learn to be themselves,” said Sara Taylor, a Southmoore High School freshman. Budget cuts in school clubs and sports could make it more difficult for students to commit to their favorite school activities without a student commitment to increased fundraising. Some school officials have had to think outside the box to identify unneeded expenses without cutting the impact of ediucation, said Steve Lindley, Putnam City schools spokesman. “School districts are lean,” he said. “There’s not a lot of extra budgeting.” Lindley also said the economy’s effect on the state’s public schools budget is an “international issue,” and while these cutbacks may be noticable local to parents and students it’s “not just in Oklahoma.” Some schools in Oklahoma have announced plans for block scheduling next year in an attempt to use teachers as efficiently as possible. Blocked scheduling is longer class periods but fewer classes each day. Grandfield public schools are converting to a four day school week, to cut costs in salary, transportation and utilities.