Rural schools in Oklahoma could face cuts

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OKALHOMA — Rural school districts in oklahoma could be facing some cuts after a recent change to a program.

Cassie Wakefield, Quapaw English Teacher, said, “We’re just kind of swept under the rug because we don’t hold you know 12,000 kids everyday. We don’t get as much as everybody else so our programs are lacking our ability to implement technology.”

Quapaw English Teacher Cassie Wakefield is one of many instructors feeling devastated to hear rural schoool districts could be affected by a change to Oklahoma’s Rural and Low Income Schools Program.

“But to take more of that stuff away its not fair its not fair to these kids who need this to become sucessful citizens.”

The U.S. Department of Education recently approved more than $1 million of funding be cut to the program in the sooner state.

David Carriger, Quapaw Schools Superintendent, said, “For us that’s probably about 12,000 dollars. we budgeted for computers for technology for our kids in the classroom it would be 50 or 60 computers per year so those are computers are kids wouldn’t be able to access.”

And now Oklahoma’s State Superintendent of Education Joy Hofmeister is seeking congressional help to reinstate funds back to the program. She released a statement saying in part.

“The loss of funds will adversly affect many rural local education authorities and likely force the reduction of services to their students.”

Changes to the program include the U.S Department of Education no longer using the amount of students who eat free or reduced lunch as apart of percentages determined as a “below poverty” level for the district.

Instead the department will evaualte small area income as well as poverty estimates data to assess a district.

“I hope that being a rural state that Oklahoma is that our legislators will understand that this money is pretty much a necessity for rural schools.”

If changes are not made restoring funding back to Oklahoma school districts, state leaders estimate the number of RLIS schools will be reduced from about 144 to 82 schools.

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