From the Superintendent’s Desk
I am not quite convinced it is already February. But it’s true; the first semester is complete, and students at the high school level are moving quickly into the second semester, which for our seniors brings forward the reality that just three and a half months remain for their high school experience.
Each week as I visit our school sites I am so impressed with the quality of our students’ academic performance and continued character development. There are incredible things taking place in our schools and classrooms. Our staff does an incredible job providing a top-tier education program, and our students regularly demonstrate courage, creativity, grit, and passion. I feel very blessed to be a part of this team in Wilburton Public Schools.
Our community is such an integral part of our schools. For example, this community has passed bond measures to help us build new school facilities and repair/renovate our aging facilities. These funds and others, provided by our community, are the funds that we can truly call “local” funds, and they are not subject to change based on how the state of Oklahoma funds schools each year. I am so grateful for the community support we receive and for the amount of local funding provided by our community.
I wish we could count on similar support from our state budget for our students. Unfortunately, some of the desires I have for our district are beyond any of our control. This year’s proposed budget from the governor, based on the governor’s view of slower revenue growth in the state, provides little to no increases in funding for Wilburton Public Schools in the next year. Conversely, the state continues to require that unfunded state liabilities are placed squarely on the shoulders of school districts, employees, and essentially students. Many districts, including Wilburton, just finally returned to a funding level from the state that is somewhat close to what we received in 2008. As you all know from your personal budgets, the costs of most things in 2020 are not the same as they were in 2008. Despite our state falling close to the bottom of the nation in what it spends per student on education, our incredible staff, students and community find ways to keep Wilburton Public Schools a great place for teaching and learning. I have no doubt that will remain true in the years to come.
School districts are funded with public dollars and are not designed to generate revenue. We are designed to provide a free public education. When we receive flat funding and yet are required to pay for unfunded mandates from the state, it is clear to see that maintaining the status quo is not a feasible reality. This is not unique to Wilburton Public Schools; school districts across the state are beginning to find themselves in this position as they begin to plan for the next upcoming school year.
Despite the pending challenges related to funding from the state, we have much to be excited about locally thanks to our community and the variety of ways they assist our students and our employees. THANK YOU WILBURTON!