Oklahoma State University is the latest college to fall victim to a federal law mandating the release of taxpayer money.
The Oklahoma State Board of Regents approved a $20.5 million settlement with a private financial institution for its role in setting up and maintaining a $100 million fund used to subsidize Oklahoma’s public universities.
The state is facing a $12 billion budget deficit for the 2017-18 school year and the first-ever budget cut under Gov.
The board voted to approve the settlement on Tuesday in a vote that was 3-1.
The deal includes a payment of $10 million to the state.
The money would be distributed to public colleges in accordance with state guidelines, said David L. Smith, the board’s chairwoman and president.
It would not be used for any purposes that violate state law, he said in a statement.
The board approved the agreement despite complaints from Oklahoma’s top law enforcement officials, which have said the settlement is a slap in the face to the families of the victims.
The victims are Oklahomans who were charged with crimes related to the tainted tainted-water scandal.
The victims’ families are suing the state for a total of $50 million, arguing that the board improperly used taxpayer funds for the compensation.
The state has denied that charge.
The settlement also resolves allegations that the university misappropriated state funds by paying $3 million to a lawyer for a convicted murderer to settle a civil lawsuit filed by a former student.
The payout also resolves claims that the school’s chief financial officer violated state securities laws by using taxpayer funds to settle another lawsuit against the school.
Oklahoma’s attorney general said last year that he has no evidence the attorney general or anyone else at the school ever misused the state’s money.
Oklahoma’s education system faces a budget shortfall of $12.7 billion for the fiscal year that begins in July, about $6.3 billion more than it was projected to spend this year.
That includes $1.7 million in new state funds for education, $634,000 for grants and $5.6 million in payments to teachers.
The university said in November it would reduce the number of students in its courses by 20 percent and add a new course called “Global Studies.”
The changes were first reported by the Tulsa World.