Skillful administration is required to ask the uncomfortable questions and institute the reforms necessary to bring long-term success for Oklahoma's education system.
The real facts now show that Oklahoma spends more money per student for teacher pay in common education than does the ultra liberal state of California.
California has nearly 10 times the students that Oklahoma does. But they gather those students into about 1000 school districts. the average California school district serves 5996 students. Oklahoma has over 500 school districts with an average of 1345 students.
The other factor causing a severe bleeding of common ed. money is the ultra-small class size. Most baby boomers remember class sizes in excess of 30 students. Today's Oklahoma teachers only educate about 16 students per room. California classrooms average around 21.
That 5 extra students is the key to massive savings. It would allow Oklahoma to give a $10,000 pay raise and still cut our current state education budget. Even with San Diego teachers making over $55,000 per year, they spread that over an extra 5 students taught; resulting in an actual teacher cost-per-student of $133 less than Oklahoma.
Yes, Oklahoma can give a 24% pay raise to teachers and still cut the budget to common education. But the factor of consolidation of district administration can bring in a flood of new education money back into the classroom. Not one school campus will necessarily be impacted, but rural schools can consolidate services with other nearby rural schools, resulting in more education opportunities to the students. Many rural districts just can't justify some important learning resources because they serve too few students to justify the investment. Some extra curricular opportunities are now missing because there are not enough students to launch the effort.
515 School Districts
1795 School Sites
$44,549 average teacher pay
$2728 pay per student
($92,125,110 more, statewide, per student than California)
9,846 School Sites
$55,180 mean teacher pay 24% more than Oklahoma (San Diego)
$2595 pay per student