Oklahoma's schools get billions to spend; where does the money go?

Education gets a big chunk of Oklahoma's $7.1 billion dollar budget.

One point of contention is this: last year's allocation is the same as this year's, which means state schools have to stretch dollars further with more students.

You can see here, the state gives education $2.4 billion dollars.

Just where does all that money go?

State schools actually get $6.4 billion dollars to spend in the classroom when you add in local and federal dollars.

Of that, 43% is spent on instruction - so teacher's salaries, classroom materials, etc.

Administration costs account for 7%, food and other non classroom expenses are 6%, building maintenance and faciltiies 9%, the rest 35%.

Even with 6.5 billion dollars going to the classroom, many education leaders say it's simply not enough.

We've heard it for years: Oklahoma doesn't fund education enough.

"Since 2007-2008, we've had the biggest drop in education funding and we have increased in students by about 40,000," said Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association.

Alesha Priest is the president of the Oklahoma Education Association, representing thousands of teachers across the state.

Teacher pay is a huge issue, but it's not just that she says.

"We need to look at our evaluation system: how much money is spent on all of these outside vendors to come in and sells us how to evaluate our teachers and administrators. All of those things drive up the cost of education," Priest said.

Problems from unfunded mandates to testing costs also add up.

But the money coming in isn't not evenly spread. Jennifer Monies is the executive director of the Oklahoma Educated Workforce Initiative.

It's study suggested the state's formula for education funding gives disproportional amounts of money to districts that are wealthier.

Edmond, for example, gets a significant more amount per pupil than Oklahoma City.

"Where is this funding coming from? How are my schools funded? In Oklahoma, if you have a lot of high property value in your area then you're going to be getting a lot of local and less from state and federal," said Monies.

And when it comes to per pupil funding, Oklahoma ranks near the bottom.

In figures provided by the Census Bureau, out of 50 states and the District of Columbia, Oklahoma ranks 48th in the nation at $7,672 spent per student. New York is tops at $19,818.

You can view a more detailed look at where the money goes here.

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