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Author Topic: Why are we complaining about school funding?  (Read 2053 times)
Btravis143
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« on: June 28, 2016, 11:31:29 pm »

I want to first start off by saying that I truly believe the money is out there, we have the money to spend on everything we need. We just need to be a little smarter in spending and little less corrupt. This cluster F of a government we have is a joke. That being said...will someone please explain to me why our most important resource (children's education), is facing the budget cuts they are, when tulsa has the 2nd largest community foundation in the united states? Tulsa almost doubles New York City's community foundation, how is this possible? OVER 4 BILLION DOLLARS!?! What the hell are we saving it for? Is this not a good time to do something? Again I am completely opposed to having to turn to charity for educational funding, but we are, and we're sitting on billions. Why?
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2016, 06:22:21 am »

I think the Tulsa Community Foundation does spend a lot of money on education in Tulsa.  

But one thing you have to consider is that if someone puts some money into the foundation, part of the process is that they choose what they want the money to go to, (arts, healthcare, education, drug abuse programs, homelessness, city beautification, etc. etc.) and often there are specific programs or entities the donors want their money to support. The foundation legally has to follow the wishes of the individual donors.

I am with the Tulsa Art Deco Museum for instance and next year we may start a capital campaign and may use the Tulsa Community Foundation.  We will start an "account" with them so that the donations we get will go into it and it can be a place where donors who are already with the foundation can appropriate some of their funds if they are interested in our cause.  

Btw, a very important part of our museums mission is education, not just as it relates to this art form but we take advantage of the time when it was developed to teach history, basic science, etc. and try to mesh our educational components with the schools and what they are trying to teach their students according to each grade etc.  

We specifically keep in mind that we want the museum to not only be an attraction that will inspire but will also work to bring in tourist dollars to Tulsa to grow the economy (thus helping schools in that way) and can also be used to be direct partners in helping educate our children with our targeted educational programs.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2016, 06:33:31 am by TheArtist » Logged

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DowntownDan
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2016, 07:10:55 am »

Using private donations to fund education is what the right wing mob in OKC is trying to accomplish, and they're winning.  I've already seen private donations stepping in to retain teachers and fill in gaps.  I guarantee it, mark it down, that this time next year when another shortfall hits, they'll say that the private sector has shown they can be responsible for education, so why fund education from public funds at all?  Some legislators have said it directly, others are being more sly about it, but they want to kill public education and let churches and private schools do all the educating.  Poor folks should just work harder if they want their kids to succeed.  If they win, you can kiss young families good bye.  Oklahoma will become a weird sparsely populated haven in the middle of the country.  We can't let them win!
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AquaMan
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2016, 08:34:01 am »

It sounds like conspiracy theory but its actually quite accurate. My last son is currently finishing his undergraduate at OU. When I graduated in 1973 the state appropriations towards the operating budget hovered around 50% with tuition accounting for 13%. The remaining came from other sources including athletics, donations, corporate underwriting etc.

By 1995 the percentages changed. State appropriations 32%, Tuition 16% and other sources 52%.

Today: State appropriations 12%, tuition 35% and other sources 53%.

Meanwhile enrollment has dramatically increased, parental loans have skyrocketed and student debt is crushing new grads. The university continues to excel academically and administrative costs have been pared but the legislature merely continues to cut. Soon, in reality, it may just as well be a private school.

The reason? State legislators turned on public schools when they determined that the direction of enlightenment the students were exposed to was opposite to their moral, political and religious convictions. They viewed higher education as a tool for their interests which included the oil industry, strangling government growth, lowering taxes to do so and evangelism. Therefore they prefer to encourage private, religious based entities.

And we keep electing them under the guise of "conservative" and are truly surprised that they are anti-education.
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Conan71
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2016, 09:23:49 am »

Go to tulsacf.org to learn more about how TCF works and what they do.  They are a matching partner on the Support Our Schools campaign and they manage a number of scholarship funds.

Overall, there are about 70 different charitable entities they manage funds for and many of those have to have a primary, secondary, and tertiary use of their funds.  TCF cannot simply take a percent of funds they manage and apply them to public school funding shortfalls.  TCF does reserve the right, if funds for a specific purpose have not been disbursed at the end of the calendar year, to disburse funds as they see fit.  My understanding is, this rarely (if ever) happens.

The only reason I know this is I sit on the board of one of those entities for whom TCF manages a fund.
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DowntownDan
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2016, 10:10:44 am »

This is the one issue that is seriously making me consider moving.  The "teachers caucus" made very little headway last night, so it's unlikely that anything will change.  It will only get worse since tax increases are impossible under the draconian law in place requiring 75% or so vote to raise taxes.  Oil prices will not dramatically increase, and if they do, it'll be another round of tax cuts.  Tulsa will quickly lose young families and everything that's been built over the last decade will be for naught.
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heironymouspasparagus
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2016, 11:12:32 am »

I want to first start off by saying that I truly believe the money is out there, we have the money to spend on everything we need. We just need to be a little smarter in spending and little less corrupt. This cluster F of a government we have is a joke. That being said...will someone please explain to me why our most important resource (children's education), is facing the budget cuts they are, when tulsa has the 2nd largest community foundation in the united states? Tulsa almost doubles New York City's community foundation, how is this possible? OVER 4 BILLION DOLLARS!?! What the hell are we saving it for? Is this not a good time to do something? Again I am completely opposed to having to turn to charity for educational funding, but we are, and we're sitting on billions. Why?


I agree - we definitely have a cluster.  It's the government we want, though.  It's the one we elect, so it's kinda disingenuous to blame "them" - them is us.

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“When you wage war on the public schools, you're attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You're not a conservative, you're a vandal.”    - Garrison Keillor

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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2016, 11:25:30 am »

Again I am completely opposed to having to turn to charity for educational funding, but we are, and we're sitting on billions. Why?

First, the above poster is entirely accurate. There is a concerted effort by the Oklahoma GOP to kill public education. It is in the party platform in not so vague terms. If you cut funding and cut funding, education will continue to fail. You then call for more private schools, charter schools, and private funding. You then gradually introduce religious schools. This isn't a secret, its a plan.

Second, the Foundation is many goals - including education. But it is NOT the Tulsa City Foundation, it is the Tulsa COMMUNITY Foundation. TPS Budget is $570M/yr, Union and Jenks are each around $100M/yr. If we limit the "community" to the three districts that are in Tulsa, the Foundation goes broke in 6 or 7 years if it had to fund education even at our current meager levels. Private money, while important, cannot compete with the accumulate wealth of nearly 4 million Oklahomans in tax revenue.

And Finally, it plays into the their plan. We all know every dollar to education from some other source is essentially offset by cuts elsewhere. That's why the lotto didn't solve this problem. That's why revenue bonds don't solve this problem. Its why bake sales and teachers buying their own damn supplies don't solve the problem. Its why a dedicated (regressive) sales tax won't solve this problem. If the Tulsa Community Foundation donated another $100mil a year to the budget, those clowns in OKC would find an excuse to cut funding so the school was still just getting by.

The proof is in the tables. While funding is not the ultimate driver of success in schools, there is a strong correlation between schools in the bottom 33% of per pupil funding, and schools in the bottom of pupil achievement.
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Btravis143
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« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2016, 04:00:55 pm »

I'm not saying that the foundation doesn't have other obligations, and again I'm not at all saying education should be funded through charity or the private sector. However, our kids are in jeopardy now, our future, the Tulsa Community Foundation does not need four billion dollar to keep afloat. There is something very wrong with this. Put education aside if you need to. Is the money they're donating every year increasing according to how much money they're taking in and gaining through interest and Investments every year? Is it widely know how much money they have? It doesn't matter that it's available if people want to look. How many contributors know that they're throwing money on a GIANT pile of money, only to be used in the far future. Why is Tulsa ranking above the largest cities in the United States? please don't give me this bullshit about tulsans are more generous. We, a city of 398,000 people, have double ($2,000,000,000 more), then our nation's most populated and our worlds richest city. But no I'm sure everything g is on the up and up. I'll take your word for it.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2016, 04:18:23 pm by Btravis143 » Logged
AquaMan
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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2016, 05:01:43 pm »

Its hard to give money away. So many restrictions, so little time. And I mean that seriously.
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heironymouspasparagus
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« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2016, 05:14:06 pm »

I'm not saying that the foundation doesn't have other obligations, and again I'm not at all saying education should be funded through charity or the private sector. However, our kids are in jeopardy now, our future, the Tulsa Community Foundation does not need four billion dollar to keep afloat. There is something very wrong with this. Put education aside if you need to. Is the money they're donating every year increasing according to how much money they're taking in and gaining through interest and Investments every year? Is it widely know how much money they have? It doesn't matter that it's available if people want to look. How many contributors know that they're throwing money on a GIANT pile of money, only to be used in the far future. Why is Tulsa ranking above the largest cities in the United States? please don't give me this bullshit about tulsans are more generous. We, a city of 398,000 people, have double ($2,000,000,000 more), then our nation's most populated and our worlds richest city. But no I'm sure everything g is on the up and up. I'll take your word for it.



Yes, our kids - in my case great grandkids - future is absolutely threatened and in great danger!!  That's why 3 of the 4 kids have left the state with most of the grands and great grandkids.  Only two left here in jeopardy and I am trying to get their parents to find a state that actually believes in working toward a better future for the next generations.  

You are still talking about a short term, temporary band-aid instead of a long term permanent solution.  Scrounging around with hat in hand from one charitable group to another is at best ridiculous.  We have ALWAYS short changed our future - even back when I was in school.  We have NEVER treated public education with the proper respect and support it deserves and should have to build a society!  But it has gotten much worse in recent years!  We are worse than Mississippi, for crying out loud...!!

The only viable solution to achieve ANY of the glittering generalities that Failin' and the Clown Show are spewing is to buckle down, grit your teeth, and do what it takes to get the money to fund education as well as all the other state infrastructure needs.  And with the gross incompetence and lack of forethought - or any kind of rational thought whatsoever - the right thing isn't gonna happen.  You and I and everyone else with any kind of functional neural activity know that taxes will have to be raised.  Mismanagement will have to be reduced - and we can see from State Senators like Nathan Daum form this area, that isn't happening anytime soon.  Cronyism, graft, corruption, and just the general evil that is going on in the statehouse will have to be reduced.  Also, not happening.

And it is because of the people of this state continuing to elect based on "good ole boy" attitudes of ignorance and stupidstition that have ruled the day for most of recent past.  It isn't the fault of the people in the statehouse in OKC - it is our fault!


“When you wage war on the public schools, you're attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You're not a conservative, you're a vandal.” - Garrison Keillor

And we have gone full tilt WAY past being vandals all the way to being terrorists on public education!  It is shameful.  It is disgusting.  It is despicable.  It is evil.




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“When you wage war on the public schools, you're attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You're not a conservative, you're a vandal.”    - Garrison Keillor

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TheArtist
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« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2016, 06:13:22 pm »

I'm not saying that the foundation doesn't have other obligations, and again I'm not at all saying education should be funded through charity or the private sector. However, our kids are in jeopardy now, our future, the Tulsa Community Foundation does not need four billion dollar to keep afloat. There is something very wrong with this. Put education aside if you need to. Is the money they're donating every year increasing according to how much money they're taking in and gaining through interest and Investments every year? Is it widely know how much money they have? It doesn't matter that it's available if people want to look. How many contributors know that they're throwing money on a GIANT pile of money, only to be used in the far future. Why is Tulsa ranking above the largest cities in the United States? please don't give me this bullshit about tulsans are more generous. We, a city of 398,000 people, have double ($2,000,000,000 more), then our nation's most populated and our worlds richest city. But no I'm sure everything g is on the up and up. I'll take your word for it.

Again, if someone donates say 10 million to the foundation, they likely have stipulations that it go to certain things.   If I donate 10 million to the foundation and I say I want the proceeds each year to fund medical research, the TCF can't then turn around and use a single dime of it to fund public schools.

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« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2016, 06:48:38 pm »

Actually, TCF "donations" aren't donations as much as they are investments of endowment funds by non-profit organizations and other foundations to be managed by TCF. This is very simplistic, of course, but TCF's ability to disburse its funds is limited by its bylaws and the trust agreements entered into between TCF and the contributing organizations. This brings us back to the Btravis143's assertion that "we" are sitting on $4 billion. This assertion raises a simple question: whose money is it? And it raises another simple question, if the TCF and the investing organizations are all private entities, how does Btravis143 propose to get hold of it? I too serve on the board of an organization that has placed its endowment with TCF. TCF owes that organization fiduciary duties to handle the money appropriately. Does that include disbursing it according to Btravis's agenda?

That aside, the original question was why we are complaining about school funding. The reason we are complaining about school funding is at least twofold and is structural: 1. Districts are limited in the types of funding sources they can tap; and 2.  state funding is mainly intended as an equalizer so that rich districts such as Red Rock (where the big OG&E power plant is located) don't enjoy so much of a funding advantage over poorer districts that the funding inequities amount to a denial of equal protection under the 14th Amendment. Yes, this argument has been used in numerous federal court cases to upend state funding systems. The result is that if a local district comes up with an extra source of operating revenue such as a foundation (these are almost universal in Oklahoma), the extra revenue increases the amount of "chargeables" which are then offset by reducing the amount of state aid the district receives. One of GT Bynum's ideas is to ask the legislation to change the way the use of chargeables penalizes school districts who establish other sources of income. But there's only so much local district funding autonomy that will survive constitutional scrutiny because under federal law it is the state that is required to provide a free, appropriate public education to its residents, not the local district. 

The upshot is that if the TCF were to decide that they were legally able to pump a few million into the TPS operating budget, the state would accordingly reduce its allocation of state aid to the district. It's a zero-sum game, made more difficult to play by the shenanigans in the Oklahoma legislature.   

Again, if someone donates say 10 million to the foundation, they likely have stipulations that it go to certain things.   If I donate 10 million to the foundation and I say I want the proceeds each year to fund medical research, the TCF can't then turn around and use a single dime of it to fund public schools.


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Conan71
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« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2016, 07:23:58 pm »

In that vein, I hope GT will continue to pursue the movement for changing state law to allow the COT to get away from heavy dependence on sales tax.
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Btravis143
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« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2016, 05:33:16 pm »

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2005/04/25/business/a-tax-benefit-for-big-donors-often-bypasses-idea-of-charity.html?referer=https://en.m.wikipedia.org/
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