- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Hundreds of school districts across Oklahoma will share more than $16.3 million in state aid after the State Department of Education admitted miscalculating the state’s school funding formula for more than 20 years.

State school officials said Tuesday the funds are being sent to districts and charter schools this week. Most schools received some kind of payment, ranging from hundreds to millions of dollars. Some districts received no additional money, according to records.

Oklahoma City Public Schools in Oklahoma County, for example, expected to receive more than $2 million in aid. The Peggs School District in Cherokee County, on the other hand, is due to get less than $300.

The recalculations are based on a 1992 law that says state aid would not factor in above an 11 percent cap that counties were taxing certain personal property.

But the law wasn’t followed until the state was notified about it by several school districts last year.

On Monday, the State Department of Education issued a revised mid-year adjustment reflecting the 1992 law.

“The change in calculations has been a significant challenge for both the SDE and the Tax Commission, yet we have successfully partnered to complete this new process,” state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said in a statement Tuesday. ”I am thankful the SDE team that worked tirelessly to ensure the re-calculations were done accurately and as quickly as possible. Similarly, I am grateful to all the districts and schools for their patience and professionalism during this challenging time.”

To ensure compliance with the 23-year-old law, Hofmeister had directed the department to temporarily retain $20 million from the Jan. 15 mid-year adjustment.

Of that amount, $16.3 million will be distributed to districts receiving increased allocations as a result of the 1992 law.

Steven Crawford, executive director of the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, says the payments represent a “one-time correction.”

“Nobody lost money on this printout,” Crawford said Tuesday. “We thought it was the right thing to do from the start.

“Everybody should be OK. (No districts) got cut,” he said.

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