School funding report undermines critics
by The Oklahoman Editorial Board

ONE problem in the Oklahoma school funding debate is that many “facts” touted by activists are not exactly as advertised. In some cases, there are errors of omission while other instances involve pure fallacies.

That reality is highlighted by the latest report from the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Its analysis of states’ school funding, “After Nearly a Decade, School Investments Still Way Down in Some States,” undermines many statements made regarding Oklahoma’s school funding situation.

It’s often said that Oklahoma has cut school funding more than any other state. Yet the only way to reach that conclusion is to focus solely on one sliver of state funding (legislative appropriations) while ignoring all state sources. When the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities examined total state funding for schools between 2008 and 2014, it found 10 states cut funding by a larger percentage than Oklahoma.

So Oklahoma isn’t even among the 10 worst states, despite the fact that the center employs a methodology designed to produce “cuts” on paper. The center determined per-pupil funding in 2008, then adjusted for inflation and population growth. Thus, even states that have increased school spending can still be accused of “cuts.”

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