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Morning Bell: Election Day in Oklahoma

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In this Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, photo Oklahoma Republican gubernatorial candidate Mick Cornett, left, speaks during a candidate debate in Oklahoma City. At center is Democratic candidate Drew Edmondson. At right is Republican candidate Kevin Stitt, who Cornett will face in a runoff Tuesday, Aug. 28. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
In this Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, photo Oklahoma Republican gubernatorial candidate Mick Cornett, left, speaks during a candidate debate in Oklahoma City. At center is Democratic candidate Drew Edmondson. At right is Republican candidate Kevin Stitt, who Cornett will face in a runoff Tuesday, Aug. 28. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Good Tuesday morning. It's Election Day in Oklahoma as there are a slew of runoff contests across the state. The headliner for many is the Republican governor runoff between Kevin Stitt and Mick Cornett. Last week, the two candidates spoke at the annual conference of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association in downtown Oklahoma City.

Cornett said kids were being shortchanged and teachers weren't properly appreciated because of cultural issues in the state.

“I will always be pushing for more funding,” Cornett said. “But as you know the governor can't do that by themselves.”

Stitt said he was surprised to learn when he first got into the race that Oklahoma teachers weren't paid salaries competitive with surrounding states.

“We've got to pay teachers what market is,” he said, adding that the state formula allocating money to school districts needed a fresh look.

Democratic nominee Drew Edmondson, who has already advanced to the November ballot, drew a line in the sand on vouchers, saying, “This is basic: Public money goes to public schools ... . That is my lodestone.”

The Oklahoman's Chris Casteel had a story on the candidates discussing education at the conference. 

There's also a runoff for state superintendent between incumbent Joy Hofmeister and challenger Linda Murphy, which you can read about here

Nearly 100 educators are also running for state office this year, including some on today's ballot

Some Lincoln County voters will also vote on propositions totaling $2.65 million for construction, equipping, repairing and remodeling school buildings in the White Rock Public School District.The first proposition, $1.95 million, will go toward constructing a safe room that can hold 260 people and four additional classroom. The second for $700,000 will add security features and go towards roof repair. Another $240,000 bond issue for school transportation equipment will also be decided.

School bond elections will also be decided for Ninnekah Public Schools in Grady County and Macomb Public Schools in Pottawatomie County.

Schools fines students for missing school

School officials at Muskogee High School have implemented a new program to fine students for missing school. The new rule is to help attendance issues they have had in the past, officials told ABC 13. But parents, who are likely the ones paying for fines, says it's out of line.

Outgoing Tulsa board member reflects on her time

Outgoing Tulsa school board member Amy Shelton and board president Suzanne Schreiber want the public to know that Tulsa Public Schools, and the city, are in need of someone who can serve the diverse population of District 2, reports the Tulsa World.

Shelton stepped down Monday after more than a year on the board so she could spend more time with her two young children.

“I hope that residents of District 2 who come from a background or perspective or community not yet represented on the board will strongly consider serving in this role,” said Shelton on Friday.

Edmond schools invest in security program

Edmond Schools are planning to invest up to $400,000 this year into its School Resource Officer (SRO) security program.

"Edmond students are blessed every minute of every day by the selfless service of our police department," said Associate Superintendent Debbie Bendick, who works closely with the program.

Edmond Schools Superintendent Bret Towne said this school year the district will employ up to eight uniformed and armed School Resource Officers — with one full-time member at each of the three high schools and the others split between the district's middle schools and Boulevard Academy, on a rotating basis.

The cost to the district is $25,000 each semester for each officer. Serving the schools are Edmond officers Dack Pearson, Bervis Littles, Gerald Dixon, Tom Williams, Nick Tant and SRO supervisor Lt. Derick Pickard.

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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