Curtis Shelton | February 13, 2018
Get the facts about Oklahoma education finance
Because meaningful debate relies on good information, OCPA operates an education finance data tool. The web-based tool is available to the public at no cost here, and makes it easy to find financial information about Oklahoma’s public schools. The data comes from the Oklahoma Cost Accounting System provided by the State Department of Education.
According to these data, 43.7% of total education expenses went towards instruction in 2016, the most recent year available. This is based on the seven categories used by the state, and will continue to include spending that is now not shown in the Department of Education’s annual expenditure report, such as facility upgrades and debt payments. These categories make up 24.9% of the total spending by the State Department of Education.
These data also show a trend of increasing spending on education (pre-kindergarten through 12th grade; adjusted for inflation), with the exception of spending spikes in 2009 and 2010 due to the combination of federal stimulus funds and high state revenues due to a high price of oil. And while overall spending has increased, the percentage of spending going to “instruction” has declined slightly, from 46.4% to 43.7%. Looking further back, Oklahoma education spending has grown even faster, far outstripping inflation and population increases.
Policy Research Fellow
Curtis Shelton currently serves as a policy research fellow for OCPA with a focus on fiscal policy. Curtis graduated Oklahoma State University in 2016 with a Bachelors of Arts in Finance. Previously, he served as a summer intern at OCPA and spent time as a staff accountant for Sutherland Global Services.