Care for a fizzy soda pop with that lunch room meal? How about a thick slice of pizza to add to that loaded-up cafeteria tray? Want a bag of chips or fries with that? Chances are, many public school kids would say yes to any of the above. It might not be a healthy choice, but rest assured, these foods are served widely in school cafeterias.
Like many state-run juvenile programs across the nation Oklahoma’s alternative education and at-risk student initiatives have had to deal with the realities of budget cuts following the start of the fiscal year on July 1. Times are tough everywhere, and in some states tougher then in others. But a glimpse at the specific cutbacks in the Sooner State can give one a sense of just what kind of pain supporters and participants of some crucial programs are in for. Gone is 4.7 percent of funding for alternative schools, a combined $385,000 from Tulsa alternative programs, and $1.2 million from the Oklahoma Technical Assistance Center. For principal Amie Hardy of the Jenks Alternative Center the most devastating blow wasn’t the 4.7 percent budget reduction, she told NewsOK, but rather the loss of the statewide evaluator that pushed the school’s alternative programs to be their best.