Alvin Trusty / Flickr

Oklahoma Schools Condensing Schedule to Save Money, Attract Teachers

For a lot of schools in Oklahoma, juggling flat budgets with increasing costs means a bumpy road ahead for district superintendents. And getting teachers to work for the meager starting salary is also a struggle. So how do they make it work? Some districts in Oklahoma pay teachers in time – four days a week, instead of five. Ask a kid from Asher Public Schools—where they’ve been doing it for five years—and they’ll tell you it’s the best. But for parents—there are a lot of questions. Of course...
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The team at Reveal produced a nifty video on Oklahoma’s earthquake surge that shows, with entertaining visuals, the science of “induced seismicity” — the scientific mechanism that explains how disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry can trigger earthquakes.

The video, produced by Ariane Wu, was based on a reporting collaboration between myself and Reveal’s Michael Corey

dark keyboard and mouse
Michael Schreifels / Flickr

When President Obama signed the USA Freedom Act last month, he said the measure would “strengthen civil liberty safeguards” in government surveillance programs. The Freedom Act includes reformed provisions from the PATRIOT Act and was meant reign in government surveillance activities.

The U.S. economy keeps adding jobs at a steady pace, but the Labor Department report for June also shows more people are leaving the labor force and wages are not rising.

The economy added 223,000 jobs last month as unemployment fell to its lowest rate since 2008, the Labor Department said Thursday. The jobless rate dipped to 5.3 percent from 5.5 percent in May.

oil pump
Sarah Nichols / Flickr

Gov. Mary Fallin signed controversial legislation in May outlawing municipal bans on fracking and other oil and gas activities. Officials in some communities are re-examining their local drilling ordinances to comply with the law, which goes into effect later this summer.

One city in southeastern Oklahoma, however, isn’t budging.

OG&E's coal-fired power plant in Muskogee.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, claiming the federal agency's proposed Clean Power Plan will threaten the reliability and affordability of power in the state.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court in Tulsa argues that the EPA is exceeding its authority and asks a court to grant an injunction prohibiting the EPA from regulating coal-fired electricity plants in Oklahoma.

Ryan LaCroix / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

House Speaker Jeff Hickman is joining the growing chorus of Republican legislators demanding action after the Supreme Court's decision to order the Ten Commandments monument removed from the Capitol grounds.

Hickman said in a statement Wednesday that calls for the impeachment of justices and for a public vote on amending the Oklahoma Constitution are within the Legislature's authority and "will be seriously considered."

H. Michael Karshis / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says crime is declining in the state.

The newly published OSBI Uniform Crime Report for 2014 shows the murder rate dropped 14 percent in 2014. The reports says the number of murders reported last year — 178 — was the lowest in a 10-year period. Since 2012, murders have declined at a rate of 10.3 percent annually.

Demonstrators gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. after Friday's ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
Ted Eytan / Flickr

Republican lawmakers, chafing after the U.S. Supreme Court shot down bans on same-sex marriage and upheld a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, could push back with new bills in the 2016 session, two state lawmakers said Tuesday.

The proposals could come in the form of resolutions denouncing the rulings and bills aimed at protecting those who would oppose same-sex marriage, the lawmakers said. The moves would also appeal to many Republicans' conservative base during the 2016 election cycle.

oklahomanews / YouTube

Since 2011, one of the ways the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation has dealt with budget cuts has been to close state parks or transfer them to new managers, like tribal governments or nearby towns.

Marq Lewis with We The People Oklahoma walks out of the courtroom with his attorney, Laurie Phillips, after a judge ruled signatures collected in support of a grand jury investigation of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office are sufficient.
Matt Trotter / KWGS

A grand jury will be convened before the end of July to investigate the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.

District Judge Rebecca Nightingale ruled Tuesday signatures collected by We The People Oklahoma are valid despite a request from Sheriff Stanley Glanz to dismiss them. Marq Lewis with We The People called it a victory for citizens of Tulsa County.

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