OK State Dept of Ed sent this bulletin at 07/20/2012 02:58 PM CDT
Some confusion regarding initial allocations to districts has circulated this week, and we wanted to provide you with further context so that you have the best information. As we indicated in an earlier Leadership Post this week, a variety of factors led to an increase in the amount the state is withholding from initial allocations.
There has been some discussion that has suggested the total amount withheld from the initial allocation was caused by an increase in charter applications. While that is certainly a factor, it is a false distortion of the numbers to suggest this as the primary cause. In fact — as you can see from the actual dollar amounts and by the pie chart we've provided — by far the largest factor in the amount withheld from the initial allocation was due to anticipated growth of weighted ADM. Adding together the dollar amounts withheld for charter applications and virtual students provides a total just under $27 million (or about $8 million shy of the amount for weighted ADM). More than 55 percent of the amount withheld stems from anticipated growth of weighted ADM, and this amount — $35,446,095 — is about $6 million more than last year. Indeed, it's the highest it's been in a decade.
Oklahoma is required by state law to withhold dollars from the initial allocation in order to account for a variety of factors. At a minimum, this is mandated at a floor of 1.5 percent, but it must increase if other factors come into play — as clearly was the case this year. The state is also required by law to withhold dollars for charter applications before August, though those numbers can change after the August count. The same holds true for virtual students: the state is required to withhold the dollars now, but the final count won't occur until December.
Here's a breakdown of the numbers:
Retained for midyear growth & surplus (anticipated growth of ADM) - $35,446,095
August adjustment - (this includes new charter applications) - $18,848,842
Retained for mid-year adjustment for virtual students - $8,056,285
Retained for Lindsey Nicole Henry - $1,500,000
Pending adjustments - $105,444
Total Amount Withheld: $63,956,666
Determining these numbers is not an arbitrary process. It is a straightforward process based on due diligence.
A statement was made this week that compared about $2.3 million in state aid that two charter schools are expected to receive to the total amount withheld, calling it "a far cry from $64 million." This statement was seemingly meant to emphasize a wide disparity between the two numbers, and to hint that something is amiss. Clearly, $2.3 million is a far cry from that total amount. But this is an invalid apples-to-oranges comparison that should not be made. Attempting to infer information about a total dollar amount withheld based on a limited view of two charter schools is misleading at best.
The same professional staff in SDE's State Aid division that has computed these dollars amounts for several years made calculations this year for initial allocations based on the best professional judgement — accounting for a substantial increase in the weighted ADM dollar amount, the doubling of charter applications this year compared to last year, as well as the increase of full-time virtual students. Moreover, all of these calculations were made to avoid potential decreases in mid-year adjustments for districts. To determine this amount, the State Aid staff at SDE takes into consideration three prior years of experience to assure that adequate money will be available to allocate at mid year.
Additionally, as communicated in an earlier edition of Leadership Post this week, the State Legislature appropriated the same amount of funding as last year for state aid. A flat funding amount against an increase of more than 11,000 weighted students statewide as well as an increase in the number of virtual students, and growth in the number of charter school applications (including two sponsored by Tulsa Public Schools and two sponsored by Langston University) results in a larger amount withheld from the initial allocation.
The professional staff in State Aid are happy to answer further questions on this subject. It is hoped that this additional information clears up any misunderstanding that may have occurred as a result of any misleading information you may have received.
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