An independent expenditure group that paid for television advertisements opposing State Superintendent Janet Barresi in last month’s primary has not filed required spending reports with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission.
A lawsuit challenging the Legislature's repeal of Common Core education standards for English and math is being scrutinized by Oklahoma's highest court just one month before public school students are scheduled to return to the classroom.
The Court may have the last word in whether the state will retain the Common Core stands after Justices hear oral arguments Tuesday.
Gov. Mary Fallin’s Democratic challenger wants to boost per-pupil spending on education by $50 by using the state’s franchise tax as a funding source.
"This will be set aside and earmarked completely for classroom funding," state Rep. Joe Dorman said Thursday at a news conference. "This will not go to salaries. It will not go to administrative costs. It will go to the tools needed by educators to educate those students to the level where they can achieve their highest potential."
There was a moratorium on franchise tax collections from 2010 to 2013.
The population of Le Flore County in southeastern Oklahoma is less than a tenth of Oklahoma County’s population. Yet Le Flore has 17 school districts compared to Oklahoma County’s 15.
At Reydon Public Schools in western Oklahoma, the superintendent makes $116,000 a year, including benefits, to oversee one of the smallest districts in the state, at 124 students. That’s $936 per student, compared to $6 for Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Keith Ballard, the highest paid superintendent this year, making $260,000.
For years, conservative legislators and others have decried what they say are high administrative costs in Oklahoma districts and schools. They say the state’s K-12 system is top-heavy and wasteful. And they point to this as a reason not to increase Oklahoma’s per-pupil funding to levels found in most other states, and to expand school-choice options such as charter schools.
The most recent campaign finance reports show State Superintendent Janet Barresi loaned her reelection campaign nearly $1 million in personal funds last month. Barresi's campaign manager told The Oklahoman's Nolan Clay the loans are necessary to counter negative attacks by her opponents.
A 2012 study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked Oklahoma 11th in terms of generosity, with a typical Oklahoma household putting about 5.6 percent of its discretionary income toward charitable giving.