Morning Bell: Opposition to teacher pay tax may have cost some lawmakers
Good Tuesday morning! Ten incumbent state House members (all Republicans) face runoff elections next month, and seven of those incumbents now fighting for their political lives opposed the tax package from earlier this year that went to fund teacher pay raises.
It appears that even in a highly conservative state like Oklahoma, where many voters are strongly tax adverse, a lack of support for funding teacher pay raises this year resulted in a lack of support from some voters.
“It's pretty much clear to me that school teachers think supporting school teachers without supporting a funding mechanism to do it is an empty promise,” said Louise Redcorn, of Pawhuksa, who is in a runoff against Rep. Sean Roberts, of Hominy, who voted against the tax packages.
The Oklahoman's Chris Casteel, Dale Denwalt and Kelsy Schlotthauer wrote about the incumbents facing runoffs and some of the issues involved, including education and teacher pay. It's well worth your time and you can find it here.
Bethany hires new high school principal
Bethany Public Schools filled two key leadership positions last week, including high school principal.
The school board hired Mark Melton to succeed Matthew Flinton as principal after Flinton was hired as chief operating officer of the 1,700-student district.
Melton is returning to education after working as a regional operations manager for an oil and gas company. He was principal of Yukon High School from March 2010 to June 2012, records show.
"Mark brings a great deal of educational knowledge and experience to our district," Superintendent Drew Eichelberger said Friday.
Jay schools hire new superintendent
The Jay School District has hired Larry Shackleford as its new superintendent.
"I'm going to do everything I can in my power to make sure are students in this district are getting a great education,” said Shackelford, a 40-year educator who graduated from Jay.
Schools step up security
Healdton Public Schools had bulletproof panic rooms placed in their buildings, Dickson Public Schools is updating their doors and locks and Ardmore City Schools is expanding their camera system, reports the Ardmorite in a recent story about what area schools are doing to enhance security.
“It can happen anywhere,” said Ardmore Police Department Capt. Keith Ingle. “You can never say, ‘it can’t happen here.’ There’s a lot of schools smaller than ours where it has.”
Dickson Public Schools is also ratcheting up security as part of their last construction bond. Superintendent Jeff Colclasure said his district is mostly concerned with updating their doors and locks.
“We’re focusing more on access control,” Colclasure said. “We’re trying to limit access to only one entrance at each building.”
Edmond schools will ban cellphones
There will be no cellphones allowed in class at Edmond Public Schools. The school board voted to revise their policy to limit the use of cellphones beginning this school year, reports News 9.
“I use it as a calculator, I use it to text my parents, I use it as a calendar to remind myself of my homework that night,” said student Kaitlyn Root.
But next year, in Edmond schools those phones will have to be put way in their backpack, locker, purse or somewhere else out of sight.
Back-2-School Bash for teachers today
Tinker Federal Credit Union and The Oklahoman's Newspapers in Education program will present a Back-2-School Bash to benefit teachers from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at The Oklahoman's Transfer Center, 4701 Council Heights.
The event will include teacher supply pack giveaways, a free lunch for the first 150 teachers, a teacher garage sale, door prizes and giveaways.