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The Morning Bell: Where charter school growth is most likely

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John Rex Charter school parent Nina Lofties guides her daughter Shylo and classmates Bella Weese-Woffard and Alivia Ward during the opening day of the Devon Ice Rink in downtown Oklahoma City, OK, Friday, November 13, 2015, Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman
John Rex Charter school parent Nina Lofties guides her daughter Shylo and classmates Bella Weese-Woffard and Alivia Ward during the opening day of the Devon Ice Rink in downtown Oklahoma City, OK, Friday, November 13, 2015, Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman

Over $16 million in federal funding is expected to significantly increase the number of charter schools in Oklahoma over the next several years, with most of the growth likely to come through the expansion of existing charters in Oklahoma City and Tulsa that are locally operated.

Oklahoma was named in September as the recipient of an Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools Program grant from the U.S. Department of Education to fund the opening of nearly 25 new charter schools, which would nearly double the number of charters currently across the state.

But it's not likely the millions in startup funding will spark much interest from national and regional charter management organizations, also called CMOs, to set up in Oklahoma.

I wrote recently about the expected growth trend in Oklahoma charter schools and where that growth is most likely to occur. 

OKCPS board races

Candidates for two seats on the Oklahoma City School Board will run unopposed in February, while District 5 incumbent Ruth Veales will face two challengers, records show.

The final day to file papers failed to produce a challenger for District 4 board member Mark Mann or District 7 candidate Jace Kirk.

Bixby investigation - Initial report released

Amid mounting public pressure, Bixby Public Schools has released a document it says is the initial report school officials gave to police on Nov. 2 of "a potential sexual assault" on a student at an event for high school football players, reports the Tulsa World

It reveals school officials learned through interviews with the victim and his mother "on two separate occasions, a hazing incident resulted in a pool cuestick being inserted partially into the victim's anus through his clothing."

--No one wants anything to do with the Bixby school board seat in the February election. The filing period for a five-year term in Bixby School District Office No. 3 came and went without anyone filing, including the incumbent, Ron Schnare, who is the current board president, reports the Tulsa World.

Teachers Institute fosters professional development

In a column for the Tulsa World, Elizabeth Smith of Tulsa University wrote This holiday season I am grateful for those Tulsans who work together to improve education despite a lack of political will to act in the state Legislature.

PTA saves Norman Chocolate Festival

The Norman PTA Council announced this week that it will take over the Norman Chocolate Festival, which was planning to be discontinued. 

“The Firehouse staff and its volunteers created a true legacy in Norman by treating us to chocolate artistry that has transcended generations. We didn’t want this community event that generated sweet memories for so many of us to go away,” Norman PTA Council president Annette Price said. “We are humbled to carry on this celebration and ecstatic that it will continue to benefit education.”

You can read more about the festival and the PTA's involvement in the Norman Transcript

Higher ed news...

--A restructuring plan for Oklahoma's public colleges would move seven institutions under the authority of larger governing boards capable of better providing services to students.

That recommendation was approved Wednesday along with dozens of others by the state's 60-member task force on the future of higher education.

Two members voted against the plan, which gives governing boards that oversee a single institution until June 30, 2019, to merge with the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, the Oklahoma State University and A&M Colleges Board of Regents or the Regional University System of Oklahoma Board of Regents.

"I believe local governance is important in these community colleges. They have different student bodies they deal with," said Gov. Bill Anoatubby, of the Chickasaw Nation. "I believe this will be counterproductive in the long term."

Related Photos
John Rex Charter school parent Nina Lofties guides her daughter Shylo and classmates Bella Weese-Woffard and Alivia Ward during the opening day of the Devon Ice Rink in downtown Oklahoma City, OK, Friday, November 13, 2015,  Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman

John Rex Charter school parent Nina Lofties guides her daughter Shylo and classmates Bella Weese-Woffard and Alivia Ward during the opening day of the Devon Ice Rink in downtown Oklahoma City, OK, Friday, November 13, 2015, Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-6d5bba6c37f9fcb73ae8bda70cec0950.jpg" alt="Photo - John Rex Charter school parent Nina Lofties guides her daughter Shylo and classmates Bella Weese-Woffard and Alivia Ward during the opening day of the Devon Ice Rink in downtown Oklahoma City, OK, Friday, November 13, 2015, Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman" title="John Rex Charter school parent Nina Lofties guides her daughter Shylo and classmates Bella Weese-Woffard and Alivia Ward during the opening day of the Devon Ice Rink in downtown Oklahoma City, OK, Friday, November 13, 2015, Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>John Rex Charter school parent Nina Lofties guides her daughter Shylo and classmates Bella Weese-Woffard and Alivia Ward during the opening day of the Devon Ice Rink in downtown Oklahoma City, OK, Friday, November 13, 2015, Photo by Paul Hellstern, 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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