Delay of State Funding Means Paycheck Delay in Caney, OK - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Delay of State Funding Means Paycheck Delay in Caney, OK

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CANEY, OK -- The school budget crisis hit a new low for one Oklahoma school district.  Because of a delay in state funding, Caney Public School employees didn't get their paychecks yesterday.  KTEN's Chris Severy explains.

Bessie Umsted has worked for Caney Schools fore more than 20 years.  And she's lived in the town all her life.  So imagine her surprise when she and other school district employees got called to a meeting with Superintendent Dr. Sheryl Barnett.  Bessie said, "She just brought us to a meeting.  We had a meeting and she told us that we wasn't gonna get our check, but a couple of days later we would."  Dr. Barnett added, "We are waiting on state money to come so we pushed our payday back by two days so that it would coincide with the arrival of state money."  Dr. Barnett did everything she could, but at the end of the day, without state help, there's only so much money available.  "For us, we receive our foundation money but the greater portion of it is what we expend and then receive in reimbursement and at this point we are still waiting on over $200,000 in reimbursement money from the 2009-2010 school year," said Barnett.  Bessie and most of her fellow employees know times are tough.  She said, "We was kinda surprised, but under the circumstances, we've heard of different schools havin' problems too and we knew there's been big cuts in different schools.  So, it wasn't really a big surprise."  Still, that doesn't make this situation any easier.  For right now, she'll grin and bear it and focus on taking care of the kids in the town she's called home for decades.  "We love our school.  We love our town and we just pray that everything works out real good," concluded Bessie.  The district received assurances from the state that the money would be in the district's bank account by Thursday, meaning employees will get paid on Friday.