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The Morning Bell: Board elections coming, registration deadline next week

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By Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman
By Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman

Good Monday morning. School board elections in many districts will be held next month, but the deadline to register to vote is quickly approaching. 

Jan. 19 is the deadline to register to vote in order to cast a ballot for the Feb. 13 election, according to the state election board

However, voters in many districts will have no say in who becomes the next school board member because most races lack multiple candidates

Since 2014, just 32 percent of school board seats in the state's 12 largest school districts featured a competitive race with at least two candidates on the ballot.

The districts of Broken Arrow, Mid-Del and Norman didn't hold a single competitive election during that time frame.

Parent protest tonight in OKC

Kirk Humphreys is expected to be a topic of conversation at tonight's Oklahoma City School Board meeting, which will include a presentation on John Rex Charter Elementary School.

Parents seeking his ouster from the John Rex board are expected to attend the meeting and voice their concerns.

Lawmaker wants to allow bond money for teacher pay

State Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, wants to give school districts more flexibility in how they can spend property taxes, reports Janelle Stecklein of CNHI

Districts are currently required by state law to spend a certain portion of their ad valorem funds on capital improvement projects like school buildings, furniture, equipment, computers, telecommunication and utility costs, insurance premiums or to pay the salaries of security guards.

Brecheen's proposed bill would allow school districts and technology centers to have the option of spending those funds on operational costs — like teacher salaries and other needs.

“I just think it makes sense to give that local superintendent more latitude,” Brecheen told CNHI. “Sometimes schools feel like they have to spend it on stadium renovations, maintenance or fixed costs. This might be an opportunity to give the superintendents more flexibility. That would free them up to be able to do teacher salaries.”

Enid High suffers damage from fire

A fire at Enid High School caused an estimated $2,500 in damage to the food preparation area of the food court early Friday.

Firefighters found smoke in the cafeteria and hallways, and flames were visible inside a closed drawer below a sealed countertop in the cafeteria, according to the report, reported EnidNews.com.

Smoke, not fire was found Friday at Moore West Junior High, reports the Norman Transcript. There were no injuries or damage. 

Bullying caught on camera

An Elk City student said she captured video of a classmate being bullied and posted it to Facebook. The school ordered her to take it down and even brought the police into the matter. KFOR has the story and video of the incident, which appears to show a student pulling a chair out from under another student. 

A closer look at state's ESSA plan

In a column for NonDoc, former teacher and education writer John Thompson said the state's new school plan has received competing thoughts from different politically-aligned groups. 

"I suspect that the Oklahoma (state Department of Educaiton) has done about as good of a job as possible in listening to practitioners and drafting a new ESSA," Thompson wrote. "Under State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, it has freed systems from the most onerous regulations that have been dumped on our schools. Now, it is up to school systems themselves to put failed corporate reforms behind them."

Related Photos
Oklahoma County Commissioner Ray Vaughn (left) votes at the polling place at the SpringCreek Assembly of God in Edmond, OK, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. By Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

Oklahoma County Commissioner Ray Vaughn (left) votes at the polling place at the SpringCreek Assembly of God in Edmond, OK, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. By Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-02966fe7255a0878424db9a37d4fd3a5.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma County Commissioner Ray Vaughn (left) votes at the polling place at the SpringCreek Assembly of God in Edmond, OK, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. By Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD" title="Oklahoma County Commissioner Ray Vaughn (left) votes at the polling place at the SpringCreek Assembly of God in Edmond, OK, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. By Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD"><figcaption>Oklahoma County Commissioner Ray Vaughn (left) votes at the polling place at the SpringCreek Assembly of God in Edmond, OK, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. By Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD</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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