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The Morning Bell: Consolidate schools in OKC?

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Mayor Mick Cornett gives his annual state of the city speech during the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber's State of the City Luncheon at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Mayor Mick Cornett gives his annual state of the city speech during the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber's State of the City Luncheon at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City mayor and gubernatorial candidate Mick Cornett said school consolidation is an idea he supports for some of the 24 schools that are located inside the city limits of Oklahoma City. 

"I would like to see Oklahoma City start consolidating schools districts," Cornett said on the Tod Tucker radio show on Thursday

"The problem is not in the rural area, the problem is in Oklahoma city primarily."

Cornett, who is seeking the Republican nomination for next year's governor's race, talked a lot about health and education as areas of improvement for the state during the radio interview.

When asked about continued conversation over school consolidation, which is typically focused on small rural schools, Cornett said there were too many separate school districts in Oklahoma City. There is no specific plan for school consolidation in Oklahoma City.

--Last week, Gov. Mary Fallin's called for the consolidation of services in Oklahoma school districts that spend less than 60 percent of their budget on student instruction, which could affect nearly 500 districts, figures provided by the governor's office show.

Political correctness and Oklahoma history

Stan Watie is a fixture in Oklahoma history texts. Should he be edited out of them on grounds of political correctness? That was a question asked by William Savage in a column on NonDoc

The Oklahoma City Public Schools board recently voted to change the names of three elementary schools because they were labeled in honor of people connected to the Confederate States of America. One of those whose name will be eradicated from an elementary edifice is Stand Watie (1806-1871), a Confederate general and a prominent Cherokee leader.

Nation-leading ed funding cuts

Despite numerous promises by Oklahoma lawmakers that this would be the year they begin undoing K-12 education cuts and funding a desperately needed teacher raise, ultimately too many of our legislators refused to raise revenues, writes Gene Perry for the Oklahoma Policy Institute.

OKC teacher raise advocates to 'keep fighting'

If they can't reverse a ruling by the Oklahoma City clerk's office, advocates of an Oklahoma City income tax for teacher pay raises will "stand up, brush ourselves off and keep fighting," says Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid.

A review this week produced 1,731 additional valid signatures on an initiative calling for a vote on the income tax proposal, but organizers of the petition drive were still short of number of signatures they needed.

Advocates needed 11,991 valid signatures to trigger a vote. The clerk's office announced Thursday afternoon they had 10,821, reports The Oklahoman's William Crum

Shakespeare in the Park

Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park wrapped earlier this month a fall tour of small rural schools. The nonprofit arts organization received a $15,000 grant  grant from the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation and its Community Grant program to take its Short Shakespeare production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" on the road.

The tour included visits to Colbert, Burns Flat-Dill City, Navaho, Snyder, Mountain View-Gotebo, Norwood,Tahlequah, Briggs, Tenkiller, Tushka, Valliant, Carnegie, Binger-Oney, Keota and Gracemont.

--The Bixby school board took no action at a special meeting Thursday evening where it received an update on an investigation into a high school student’s alleged rape with a pool cue by his football teammates at the superintendent’s house, reports the Tulsa World

What to look for this weekend: In this weekend's issue of The Oklahoman I'll have a story on town hall conducted by the Bureau of Indian Education, which was in Anadarko on Tuesday. I'll also take a look at growing number of emergency certified teachers across the state, but the lack of data on what that means for students. 

Have a great weekend!

Related Photos
Mayor Mick Cornett gives his annual state of the city speech during the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber's State of the City Luncheon at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Mayor Mick Cornett gives his annual state of the city speech during the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber's State of the City Luncheon at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-8de3f63cb32ea1ced2dfab2edafb1045.jpg" alt="Photo - Mayor Mick Cornett gives his annual state of the city speech during the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber's State of the City Luncheon at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Mayor Mick Cornett gives his annual state of the city speech during the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber's State of the City Luncheon at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Mayor Mick Cornett gives his annual state of the city speech during the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber's State of the City Luncheon at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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