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The Morning Bell: Lawmaker files charter school legislation

Oklahoma state capitol. 
Oklahoma state capitol. 

State Sen. Ron Sharpe, R-Shawnee, has filed a bill that would eliminate the ability for the state Department of Education to overrule a local school district when considering whether to install a charter school.

The bill could be heard during regular session, which begins in February, reports The Oklahoman's Dale Denwalt

"Locally elected school boards can and have rejected charter schools within their school districts only to have the charter organizers appeal the rejection to the non-elected State School Board to overturn," said Sharp.

"To date, all of the local school board rejections have been overturned by the State School Board, violating the wishes of local taxpayers who don't want charter schools in their districts. We must give back local control on decisions concerning charter schools."

Supt resignation in Bixby

The Bixby school board is set to consider a resignation agreement with longtime Superintendent Kyle Wood at a special meeting tonight, reports the Tulsa World.

Chickasha investigation underway

Three department heads are among those suspended by Chickasha Public Schools, which is investigating allegations of abuse and embezzlement, reports Tim Willert of The Oklahoman

Athletic Director Yohance Brown, Assistant Superintendent of Transportation and Maintenance Pete Bush, administrative assistant Stacy Crutchfield and Special Services Director Pam Huggins were suspended Wednesday by the district, whose attorney confirmed the allegations Friday in a Twitter post.

"Be advised that at this stage, the administration of Chickasha Public Schools is investigating Mr. Glass's clients for failure to report child abuse of special needs students and embezzlement of taxpayer dollars," Richard O'Carroll stated in the post.

Four-day school weeks

Rick Grimes is principal of Boswell Public Schools and he took to The Oklahoman's opinion page last week to state that a four-day school week has worked for his district

When I took this position three years ago, we started a four-day school week in an effort to save money. Has it? Yes. Not millions of dollars, but for our school district, every penny matters. There were other effects of the four-day week. Student attendance increased. It was a combination of parents planning doctor visits and such on Fridays, and students feeling like they can handle making it to school for four days. Our teacher attendance went up as well.

There are 91 school districts in Oklahoma operating on a four-day week and the research is sparse on what the impact on students truly is. 

Enid adds back attendance officer

Enid schools is adding back its attendance officer after the position was cut in 2010. The school board agreed to use a federal grant to reinstate the attendance officer position. Part of the new rural low-income federal  grant, comprising about $138,000, will go toward reinstating the  attendance officer, also known as truancy officer, reported

Union students participate in new program

Fifty-five Union Public Schools ninth-graders got some big news this week: They will be in the inaugural class of the district’s Early College High School program, which is in collaboration with Tulsa Community College. The program will allow students to graduate with two years of college under their belts, reports the Tulsa World.

“The reason why I applied was because I saw this opportunity and thought that if I took it, I could make something big out of myself and I could go on and do what I want to do in life,” said student Alexia Carr.

That does it for today's Morning Bell. See you tomorrow!

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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 ›