Despite the recent bad news that Lawton Public Schools will soon be facing further cuts in local and state revenue, school officials say that they expect to be able to continue to provide quality services for the remainder of the 2016-2017 school year.

Chief Financial Officer of LPS, Diane Brandtetter, presented a mid-year budget update to the Lawton Board of Education during its regular Thursday board meeting, outlining revenues that will sustain the district through this school year, and are expected to keep the district running into the next school year. These sources include property taxes, motor vehicle taxes and state land earnings. While those sources are expected to decline an estimated $1.93 million compared to the last fiscal year. Branstetter stated that while those sources are expected to decline, the revenues are expected to come in about $1.5 million above where the current district budget estimated them.

School classroom in Japanese high school
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That difference is expected to offset an expected 3% cut in basic state aid, as the State Department of Education withheld $250,000 in aid the first two months of the current school year, with anticipated cuts of up to 6% for the remainder of this year and the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. These cuts would leave the district with an estimated $7 million in its back-up or 'short fall' account. This amount was improved when the state restored almost $600,000 in cuts and also made an adjustment in midyear aid of almost $150,000.

The district has already made plans to offset an expected $1.8 million dollar deficit in state funding stemming from a decrease in enrollment during the 2017-18 school year.  According to district superintendent Tom Deighan, who also spoke at the board meeting, an additional decrease in state funding of even 3% would cost LPS $2 million. Dieghan explained to board members that due to good financial planning on the part of the district, the financial strength of the school system was sound and would be able to sustain its strength while weathering the current financial storm.

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