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Morning Bell: Educators challenge tax repeal effort

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Policy debaters Saif Salim (sophomore) and Vyas Venkataraman (senior) went on a 7-0 run to secure the OSSAA 6A state championship. [PHOTO PROVIDED]
Policy debaters Saif Salim (sophomore) and Vyas Venkataraman (senior) went on a 7-0 run to secure the OSSAA 6A state championship. [PHOTO PROVIDED]

Good Friday morning. A coalition that includes former and current educators, along with parents and most of the state’s major education organizations filed a challenge to proposed State Question 799 with the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Thursday.

The group, called Decline to Sign 799, follows Professional Oklahoma Educators in trying to head off a referendum petition that seeks to repeal a $400 million revenue bill, HB 1010xx, signed into law this spring, reports the Tulsa World

Lawmakers and Gov. Mary Fallin say the new taxes are necessary to implement pay increases for teachers and other school personnel as well as state employees.

The referendum’s backers, called Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite, say the taxes are not necessary and the pay raises could be accomplished through other means.

Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite has until July 18 to gather the 42,000 valid signatures required to get the referendum on a statewide ballot. You can read more here

Debate champs: Heritage Hall policy debaters Saif Salim, a sophomore, and Vyas Venkataraman, a senior, went on a 7-0 run to secure the OSSAA 6A state championship, pictured at the top of today's newsletter. 

1,000 volunteers needed

When students are out for summer, you can help make sure they’re getting something to eat. The Regional Food Bank needs hundreds of people to step up to ensure kids don’t go hungry when their school lunches aren’t available, reports Fox 25. Thousands of children depend on school lunches as their consistent source of food, the Food Bank says.

Norman Public Schools’ longest tenured elementary school principal is leaving

After 17 years at the helm of Jackson Elementary School, Norman native Dr. Craig Stevens is bound for Colorado, where he will continue his career as a principal in Colorado Springs, reports the Norman Transcript. After decades of service to Norman Public Schools, he said it was time to be closer to family.

“I’ve had incredible opportunities to learn and grow professionally, great experiences in Norman and at the University of Oklahoma going to get my bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate [degrees]. I’ve had a wonderful education and career here, and I will take all of that and go to be closer to family and enjoy a new opportunity.”

An Edmond school teacher assistant was arrested Tuesday afternoon after she appeared to be high on meth at her work, police said.

Charter school board members of Langston Hughes Academy get restraining order against president, to vote on reinstating superintendent

This Sunday: On the fifth year anniversary of the tornado that hit Plaza Towers Elementary in Moore, I'll have a story on how schools across the state responded with a flurry of safe room construction. 

Have a great weekend! See you Monday. 

Related Photos
Policy debaters Saif Salim (sophomore) and Vyas Venkataraman (senior) went on a 7-0 run to secure the OSSAA 6A state championship. [PHOTO PROVIDED]

Policy debaters Saif Salim (sophomore) and Vyas Venkataraman (senior) went on a 7-0 run to secure the OSSAA 6A state championship. [PHOTO PROVIDED]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f05cdfdffe1b2a45623d3e3b1e9aac33.jpg" alt="Photo - Policy debaters Saif Salim (sophomore) and Vyas Venkataraman (senior) went on a 7-0 run to secure the OSSAA 6A state championship. [PHOTO PROVIDED]" title="Policy debaters Saif Salim (sophomore) and Vyas Venkataraman (senior) went on a 7-0 run to secure the OSSAA 6A state championship. [PHOTO PROVIDED]"><figcaption>Policy debaters Saif Salim (sophomore) and Vyas Venkataraman (senior) went on a 7-0 run to secure the OSSAA 6A state championship. [PHOTO PROVIDED]</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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