Education

Woodland Public Schools could lose gifted and talented programming

CODY HAMMER/Osage News

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Osage County school district is among a dozen across Oklahoma that could lose state aid for gifted and talented programming.

At its Nov. 12 meeting, the state board of education voted unanimously to withhold part of Woodland Public Schools’ 2021 state aid connected to the number of gifted and talented students served by the district.

Oklahoma’s state aid formula includes an additional weight for gifted and talented students to provide additional financial support for the extra programming needed to support those students’ educational needs.

However, to get that additional funding, districts are legally required to turn in annual reports by Aug. 1 listing out how many gifted and talented students they serve and what expenses are incurred to provide extra academic supports or programming. Oklahoma’s administrative rules mandate that any district that does not turn in such a report have its gifted and talented state aid withheld.

Along with the Cherokee Nation’s immersion school in Tahlequah, other districts with missing reports include Bokoshe, Darlington, Empire, Hanna, Konawa, Oilton, Thackerville, Varnum, Wainwright and Riverside, a dependent district near El Reno. Combined, those 12 districts received $160,000 in gifted and talented funding during the previous year.

“These 12 districts are a very small fraction of the state aid for gifted and talented,” OSDE employee Levi Patrick said, noting that Oklahoma public schools received $54 million for gifted and talented programming in fiscal year 2020.

Woodland and the other districts can have their gifted and talented state aid restored if they submit all of their mandatory expenditure reports by May 31, 2021. If not, those funds will be distributed among other school districts statewide as part of their final 2020-2021 state aid payment in June.