Budget & Tax

Curtis Shelton | October 7, 2021

Public education money goes to private companies—again

Oklahoma City Public Schools recently made a change in how the district finds substitute teachers, the Oklahoma City Free Press reports. OKCPS has hired Kelly Education, a division of Kelly Services Inc., to deal with employment issues related to substitute teachers, including workers comp and unemployment. Kelly Education is also being used by other Oklahoma school districts, including Norman and Moore.

This is another example of public schools relying on the private sector to provide services to a school district.

The practice of hiring private companies to provide services to school districts is quite common. In 2020, Oklahoma public schools spent $1.8 billion on purchased services and supplies. Most of this money goes to for-profit businesses: construction-and-maintenance companies, repair companies, accounting firms, janitorial services, and more.

Ok school district expenses on supplies

Source: Oklahoma Cost Accounting System

Public schools are just one example of the partnership between the public and private sector. Public officials should always be encouraged to look for more efficient and productive ways of doing business, however that looks.

Curtis Shelton Policy Research Fellow

Curtis Shelton

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.

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