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Morning Bell: State superintendent race heads to runoff

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In a Monday, April 9, 2018 photo, Oklahoma state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister points as she files for re-election during candidate filing at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City. (Nate Billings/The Oklahoman via AP)
In a Monday, April 9, 2018 photo, Oklahoma state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister points as she files for re-election during candidate filing at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City. (Nate Billings/The Oklahoman via AP)

Good Wednesday morning. There are plenty of story lines from last night's primary elections, but none bigger in the education world than state superintendent Joy Hofmeister being forced into a runoff in the Republican primary. Hofmeister will face Linda Murphy on Aug. 28. 

Why this is surprising: Hofmeister had the money, the name recognition and she remained popular with educators during the two-week teacher walkout earlier this year.

Why this might not be surprising: Many Republican voters are probably frustrated with the state of public education in Oklahoma and might have taken that out on the incumbent. Also, there are plenty of conservative voters who were against the walkout and might not have appreciated Hofmeister's position of appearing to support the walkout. 

"Challenges are something that we are accustomed to in elections and in leading the state during such a challenging time, with all we've encountered with a teacher shortage and eroded funding," Hofmeister said. 

"Apparently they're not pleased with the current leadership," Murphy said.

Teacher Carri Hickswon the Democratic primary in Senate District 40 in northwest OKC. 

Emergency cert requests begin new year higher than last

The state Department of Education has already received around 370 emergency certification requests from districts ahead of the next school year, a nearly 65 percent increase compared to this point last year.

"This is not good for kids," said state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

Hofmeister said it will take a few more months to determine if the number of emergency certifications is trending towards another record or if districts are just getting their requests in early.

When districts are unable to find a qualified teacher, they can use an emergency certified teacher with approval from the state Board of Education.

Oklahoma schools used 1,975 emergency certified teachers last year, which are teachers who lack state certification and most have not passed a test in the subject area they were hired to teach.

Just six years ago, 32 emergency certified teachers were used in Oklahoma.

OKC school board approves projected budget

The Oklahoma City School Board on Monday night approved a proposed budget of nearly $600 million for the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

By comparison, last year's proposed budget was slightly less, about $597.7 million. The operating budget, which combines the district's general, business and nutrition funds, was about $401 million.

Jean Bostwick, the district's chief financial officer, characterized the FY 2019 budget as flat.

"Basically, it is reflective of the legislative impact for new revenues and new expenses," she said following the 5-0 vote. "We are anxiously awaiting specific information from the state Department of Education about what the impact will be for Oklahoma City Public Schools."

Tulsa Global Alliance seeks volunteers

Twelve Iraqi students and 12 students from Caribbean countries at different points during the summer will visit Tulsa. Tulsa Global Alliance officials are encouraging locals to volunteer and host the students during their visit, reports the Tulsa World.

“The students bond with their host families,” said Bob Lieser, vice president of programming at the Global Alliance. “Some families develop lifelong friendships.”

Related Photos
In a Monday, April 9, 2018 photo, Oklahoma state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister points as she files for re-election during candidate filing at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City.  (Nate Billings/The Oklahoman via AP)

In a Monday, April 9, 2018 photo, Oklahoma state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister points as she files for re-election during candidate filing at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City. (Nate Billings/The Oklahoman via AP)

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b0f35f3b7bc9c0780d5f174d4a1fe867.jpg" alt="Photo - In a Monday, April 9, 2018 photo, Oklahoma state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister points as she files for re-election during candidate filing at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City. (Nate Billings/The Oklahoman via AP)" title="In a Monday, April 9, 2018 photo, Oklahoma state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister points as she files for re-election during candidate filing at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City. (Nate Billings/The Oklahoman via AP)"><figcaption>In a Monday, April 9, 2018 photo, Oklahoma state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister points as she files for re-election during candidate filing at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City. (Nate Billings/The Oklahoman via AP)</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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