The Morning Bell: Good morning from Chicago
Good Monday morning! I'm in Chicago today for an Education Writers Association seminar on early childhood education. I'll be tweeting some updates and notes of interest during the two-day seminar. I'm on Twitter at @benfelder_okc if you care to follow.
--Wednesday will be one year since Oklahoma voters rejected a statewide sales tax that would have funded a $5,000 teacher pay raise. The defeat of State Question 779 was followed by many lawmakers expressing interest in getting a teacher pay raise passed in the Legislature.
But the one year anniversary will come without any teacher pay raise in place.
"I took lawmakers at their word," said Amber England, an executive director of Stand for Children Oklahoma who campaigned for the state question. "It was their responsibility to come up with a plan to make sure that teachers got a pay raise and that schools were funded properly and they haven't done it."
Yesterday I wrote about the lack of a teacher pay raise one year after SQ779.
The story was met with a, "Well, duh!" by some educators, a plea to vote in new lawmakers by others, and some optimism that something would get done next year.
Next year is an election year, which will no doubt have most candidates talking up the importance of teacher pay. But the election year will also make it a challenge for some to support a tax increase that is likely necessary to fund an increase in educator pay.
--SETTLEMENT DETAILS: A possible settlement by the state Board of Education would have yielded some charter schools more public funding, reports Andrea Eger of the Tulsa World.
According to a document obtained by the Tulsa World, terms in the draft agreement called for school district-sponsored charter schools to receive from their sponsoring districts “proportionate” shares of the general fund, building and all other local revenue and state-dedicated revenue, as of July 1, 2018.
--On Friday, a judge ruled that Oklahoma City and Tulsa schools can intervene in the lawsuit. At stake is state and local tax funding, which the Oklahoma Public Charter Schools Association contends in the lawsuit is not being equitably distributed among its member schools.
--LOVE FOR THE LUNCH LADY: Kristi Harris (pictured above) isn't a parent, but she's treated like one. Boys and girls passing through the cafeteria line at Thelma Parks Elementary for breakfast and lunch often refer to her as "mama" or "auntie" or "grandma."
"We're actually like parents. They come to me with problems," she said. "They'll even come to me when their hair is not combed. We do their hair. We give them lotion when their skin is dry."
The Oklahoman's Tim Willert recently wrote about the beloved cafeteria supervisor at the Oklahoma City elementary school.
--PICKUP CRASHES INTO SCHOOL: A man later hospitalized for possible mental health issues drove his pickup into an Oklahoma City elementary school with such force that it punched through exterior and interior walls and damaged a major support beam, officials said.
--TEACHER GRANTS: Oklahoma pre-K through 12th-grade teachers seeking customized professional development opportunities are invited to attend information sessions throughout the state about Fund for Teachers grants.
In partnership with the national nonprofit Fund for Teachers, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and the Tulsa Community Foundation will offer grant proposal writing and information sessions in Yukon, Clinton, Lawton and Tulsa in November.
That does it for today's Morning Bells. Story ideas, questions or comments? Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.