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Morning Bell: Charter for Indigenous students rejected

School shooting in Florida: A former student opened fire at a Florida high school Wednesday as classes were being dismissed, killing at least 17 people.  

Frantic parents rushed to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where SWAT team members and ambulances had surrounded the campus. Live footage showed emergency workers who appeared to be treating the wounded on sidewalks.

"It is a horrific situation," Superintendent Robert Runcie said. "It is a horrible day for us."

Indigenous charter school denied

A group behind a charter school for Indigenous students plans to appeal its rejection by the school board and take its application to the state, if needed.

“We are absolutely prepared to take this all the way to (the state board),” said Phil Gover, who is leading the effort behind Sovereign Community School.

Board members voted down the application at the request of acting Superintendent Rebecca Kaye on Monday.

Kaye told supporters the charter application lacked important details in a variety of areas.

"There were a number of deficiencies in this application," she said. "There are some financial concerns about budgets not adding up — items that need to be budgeted for that weren't included, like insurance and payroll taxes.

"We saw some problems with, for example, parts of the academic program, including the requirements for surveying students with disabilities, English learners, gifted students. There was just a lot that's not fleshed out yet with this application."

The school has 30 days to appeal the decision. If the board denied the application a second time the state Board of Education would be final decider.

Read more: For the 20 percent of Native students who attend a school in the state's two largest metro areas, cultural connections can be harder to find, especially when it comes to a specific identity.

Ed funding effort moving forward

A group wanting to raise gross production taxes is gearing up after the failure of Step Up Oklahoma, reports KOSU.

Restore Oklahoma Now is proposing State Question 795 to raise GPT to 7 percent, which will bring in an extra $288 million with most of that going to common education.

Executive Director Mickey Thompson says he delayed pushing forward while Step Up Oklahoma worked its way through the State Capitol.

“We’ve tried to be respectful of the legislative process a couple of times now in these various special sessions. Nothing has happened, so that’s why we’re in business in the first place is because the legislature has failed to act on these important issues.”

Teacher writes letter to Legislature: "I have never been so embarrassed and disappointed in our state Government as I am now," wrote a Putnam City North teacher following this week's defeat of a tax bill to fund teacher pay raises. 

Applications open for innovation grants

Educators with a plan for an innovative educational program that could really impact their students can apply for a grant of up to $10,000 to make that plan a reality. The money comes from Cox Charities, and is funded through donations by employees of Cox Communications and Cox Media Group. The “Innovation in Education” grants are available to public and private schools, pre-K through 12th Grade. KMRG has more

STEM night at Lawton school

Hugh Bish Elementary School in Lawton recently held it's first S.T.E.M. night. (KSWO)

"They're actually learning things while they're playing games,” said Kenny Gaddy, the father of a second-grader. “It's more hands on. Some kids learn differently. Some kid learn with just books, and some kids learn by playing games."

Speaking of Hugh Bish, I spent some time there this school year for a story on the school's transformation from an F to a B on the state letter grade.

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 ›