A clever reader shared this detailed info with me this morning in an email about the Nichols Hills Elementary gym project. (It’s one of those times as a reporter that you wish you would have had it yesterday! Doh!) I’ll be honest. I’ve never heard of the phrase “geotechnical report,” so I have definitely learned something new today!
I just looked at the geotechnical report for Nichols Hills Elementary and it shows the Gym to be on the west side. The geotechnical investigation and report are completed prior to the structural plans. The geotechnical investigation was authorized on 3/14/2008! The report was issued on 5/27/2008. If you follow this link: http://www.okc.gov/agendapub/agdocs.aspx?doctype=agenda&itemid=63818, you can look at some of the plans and the geotechnical report (especially the “Plan of Borings” page) in Addendum 1. I don’t know what the people on Glenwood were told, but as far as the architect and the City is concerned (Building Permit was issued on 11/28/2011), that Gym was always going to be on the west side, right up against their backyard fence.
Last night I spotted Billie England at the Oklahoma City School Board meeting, and I was a little surprised to see her. Normally teachers don’t pop up at those meetings, so I was caught a little off-guard. Then, as the meeting wound up, I figured out why she was there. The John Marshall High School math teacher was being promoted. She was named an assistant principal of Jefferson Middle School. It was neat to see someone I met and interviewed move her way up the ranks. The last time I saw Billie, she was making kids run and laugh about algebra. Here’s the story I wrote about her:
“OK my babies, OK my darlings, OK my sweetie pies.”
John Marshall High School math teacher Billie England settles down her class and starts in on her lesson.
Students calculate volume on the marker board as part of a state test review. It’s a game England plays. Each corner of her room represents one of the multiple-choice answers on a state practice test. Students work the problem and then move to the corner they think represents the right answer. The class is almost always divided.
England weaves around the desks, peeking over students’ shoulders. She pats a few on the shoulder. Her goal is to call on or physically touch every kid every hour.
“Kids have a tendency to melt into the wall,” England said. “You can’t just let those kids go unnoticed.”
England wants her students to do well on state tests, but she also wants to prep them for life. Some of her students come from loving homes; others don’t. She works at John Marshall because she wants to help them.
“They need me,” England said. “I don’t know what to say. I guess I need them, too.”
Just as the students debated the answer to an equation, the bell rang.
“Clean it up,” she said. “Go away. Love you. See you Monday.”
I’ll have a story in the paper tomorrow about the Oklahoma City Public Schools school board meeting, but I wanted to post a list here of the contracts and agreements they approved here. A few notes about this list …
It includes only things of $100,000 or above. I didn’t include things previous ratified. I didn’t include things lumped together that totaled more than $100,000 that had multiple contractors. I didn’t include things that didn’t have specific contractors/sellers, such as the board giving the district the right to pay for things as they arise within a certain budget. Everything’s rounded to the nearest dollar. If you’d like to read the full list of all 10 bajillion contracts, just click here. Easy as pie.
So, without further adieu …
- Oklahoma Roofing and Sheet Metal, roofing and repairs, $15 million.
- PATCO, electrical repair, $15 million.
- Schuler Enterprises, plumbing repairs and service, $15 million.
- Hardesty Team Heating and Air Conditioning, chiller repair, $14 million.
- Commercial Roofing, roof repairs and replacements, $10 million.
- Oklahoma School Assurance Group, worker’s compensation insurance, $5,062,294.
- Apple Computer, technology and service, $4 million.
- Dell Computer, technology and service, $4 million.
- Ace Transfer and Storage, moving and storage, $3 million.
- Hiland Dairy Foods, milk, $2.6 million.
- Cooks Fencing, repair and replacement, $2.5 million.
- Buddy’s Produce, produce delivered to schools, $2.2 million.
- Pearson Agreement, professional development, $2 million.
- Independent Insurance Agents of Greater Oklahoma City, property and casualty insurance, $1,861,628.
- Sodexo, food service, $1,428,655.
- SAP, software, $1,249,142.
- RobertsTruckCenter, bus parts, $1.2 million.
- Core Knowledge, elementary school reform supplies, $1 million.
- Great Expectations Institutes, professional development, $1 million.
- Siemans Industry, heating and air repairs and maintenance, $1 million.
- Hunzicker Brothers, electrical supplies, $800,000.
- Office Depot, office supplies, $750,000.
- Voss Lighting, lamps, $750,000.
- Chartwells, child nutrition, $585,000.
- Edusoft, benchmark assessments, $532,837.
- Connections Learning Virtual Learning Programs, full-time virtual education program, $500,000.
- Johnson Controls, heating and air repairs and maintenance, $500,000.
- Oklahoma Department of Central Services, various vendors, $500,000.
- Central Oklahoma Winnelson, plumbing supplies, $500,000.
- Johnstone Supplies, heating and air supplies, $450,000.
- Fuzzell’s Business Equipment, toner cartridge supplies, $410,000.
- Woods Labor and Staffing, temporary landscaping labor, $380,000.
- MetroTech educational services dropout recovery and prevention program, $360,000.
- TransPar Group, transportation, $358,720.
- Marzano Research Laboratory, professional development, $357,500 atCentennialHigh Schooland $175,000 atDouglassHigh School.
- MASSCO Maintenance, custodial supplies, $350,000.
- Waste Management, trash service, $350,000.
- Allied Steel, crane service, $300,000.
- Federal Corporation, boiler repair, $300,000.
- MASSCO Maintenance, copy paper, $300,000.
- AT&T, hosting of SAP, $296,984.
- Center for Education Law, basic legal services, $250,000.
- Hardesty Team Heating and Air Conditioning, repairs and maintenance, $250,000.
- Harris House Moving Contractors, moving services, $250,000 and $150,000.
- Shannon Construction, building repairs, $250,000.
- Youth Cornerstone, truancy program, $192,000.
- EMC Hardware, network storage, $168,958.
- Dell, backup hardware, $167,820.
- Gates-MacGinitie, student tests, $164,585.
- Life Excelerator – Assessment of Personal Skills, teacher training, $163,250.
- Presort First Class, mail service, $160,000.
- ACT, testing supplies, $150,000.
- Filtertec, air filters, $150,000.
- R&R Delivery, courier mail, $125,000.
- Discovery Education, web and video service, $115,000.
- Smartweb Technology Programs, license, $106,061.
- Reliance Medical Sales, medical supplies, $106,000.
- American Eleveator Service, inspection and repair, $100,000.
- Hardesty Team Heating and Air Conditioning, boiler repair, $100,000.
- Magic Services, cafeteria laundering, $100,000.
I plan to keep a running total of how the ACE/EOI appeals process votes have turned out. Here’s a list of how the vote has gone by district.
- Broken Arrow: 2 granted, 4 denied, 15 dismissed
- Catoosa: 1 dismissed
- Choctow: 1 denied
- Lawton: 1 denied
- Mannford: 1 denied
- Marlow: 1 denied
- Norman: 1 denied
- Oklahoma City: 1 granted, 1 denied
- Schulter: 1 dismissed
- Strother: 1 denied
- Tahlequah: 1 denied
- Tulsa: 2 denied
- Tulsa Union: 2 granted, 1 denied
- Wagoner: 1 denied
And here’s a list of how the vote has gone by meeting.
Results from the June 5, 2012 Oklahoma Board of Education Meeting
Granted, Extenuating Circumstances: 1 (Broken Arrow)
Granted, Accepted into a University: 1 (Broken Arrow)
Postponed until June 28: 1 (Oklahoma City)
Denied: 7 (four from Broken Arrow, two from Tulsa, one from Wagoner)
Dismissed: 16 (one from Catoosa, 15 from Broken Arrow)
Results from the June 28, 2012 Oklahoma Board of Education Meeting
Granted, Extenuating Circumstances: 2 (Tulsa Union)
Granted, Accepted into a University: 1 (Oklahoma City)
Denied: 9 (Choctaw, Lawton, Mannford, Marlow, Norman, Oklahoma City, Strother, Tahlequah, Union)
Dismissed: 1 (Schulter)
Total Results from Oklahoma Board of Education for 2012
Granted, Extenuating Circumstances: 3 (one from Broken Arrow, two from Tulsa Union)
Granted, Accepted into a University: 2 (one from Broken Arrow, one from Oklahoma City)
Denied: 16 (four from Broken Arrow, one from Choctaw, one from Lawton, one from Mannford, one from Marlow, one from Norman, one from Oklahoma City, one from Strother, one from Tahlequah, two from Tulsa, one from Union, one from Wagoner)
Dismissed: 17 (one from Catoosa, 15 from Broken Arrow, one from Shulter)
A former official with Oklahoma City Public Schools who seems to be followed by controversy has landed a new job. Alan Ingram has been named the deputy commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Ingram worked as the executive director of federal programs and then the chief accountability officer for Oklahoma City Public Schools. He worked under John Q. Porter, the controversial superintendent who resigned after less than a year in the position. Ingram announced that he was a finalist for superintendent positions in Putnam City and Tacoma, Wash., though he was hired shortly after as the superintendent for schools in Springfield, Mass.
If you attend the Norman Public Schools Board of Education meetings, you’re probably aware that they’re in a building that doesn’t look so hot. In fact, it looks like this:
The good news is that building is getting torn down. The school board is getting the heck out of dodge for the next year while a new administrative building goes up. So, meetings will be in the city council chambers starting Monday. Here are the details from a district press release:
The Norman Public Schools’ Board of Education will begin holdings its bi-monthly meetings on June 4 at the City Council’s Chambers at the city’s municipal complex at 201 W. Gray. Agendas will be posted there, at 131 S. Flood and online, www.norman.k12.ok.us.
The change of locale for Board meetings is necessary because of construction scheduled to commence at NPS’ administrative and curriculum offices at 131 S. Flood as part of the 2009 bond projects approved by city voters. This is the last of NPS’ 2009 bond projects and includes demolition in June of the Board’s current meeting space, as well as its curriculum offices.
NPS Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano said he and the Board are very appreciative of the willingness of the City Council, City Manager Steve Lewis and Mayor Cindy Rosenthal to allow the Board to use the City’s facilities for its meetings for the next year at no cost to the district.
“We are very grateful; they have been most helpful and accommodating. This partnership with the City will help contain costs with the bond project, while also continuing to provide citizens and NPS faculty and students a safe, comfortable forum for Board meetings.”
In December 2009, voters approved making structural repairs to the district’s Administrative Service Center and construction of an addition. The addition is to replace four, non-foundation metal buildings that currently house the Board of Education (see picture), special services and curriculum staff, as well as athletics, counseling and NPS Foundation offices.
The Board announced earlier this month special services staff would be relocated to 222 E. Eufaula, Suite 120, and curriculum staff would be relocated to 500 W. Main, Suite 300, until the work to the campus is completed in August 2013. A temporary building housing athletics, counseling and the Foundation is to remain on campus during construction.
I’ve watched this several times now, and I’m not going to lie: I get a little emotional. My daughter is only two years out from attending Oklahoma City Public Schools.
The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools created this video for their annual campaign. They go to many schools and interview all kinds of people – students, volunteers, teachers, administrators. I saw several faces I recognized from spending a week at John Marshall High School. One of those was Ashley Bahtahou. (You can see her at about 1:35 into the video.) I didn’t interview her, but I saw her so many times throughout the week. She’s one of those students who is involved in everything, and you can tell that she’s respected and admired by other students. She was phenomenal during track practice. She was fast, sure, but she was so encouraging of her other teammates. She’s a neat kid.
What she said in the video was so striking to me because it’s the same thing I’ve heard over and over from students and teachers throughout the district: our reputation doesn’t reflect reality. Set aside the reputation and whether you think it’s deserved. To me, the saddest thing is that those kids all know what the city thinks of them. They know what the community says about Oklahoma City Public Schools. Children shouldn’t feel like the world around them expects them to fail. They should feel like everyone expects them to succeed.
Oklahoma City Councilman Ryan invited Oklahoma City School Board Member Lyn Watson onto his weekly show. Here’s what she had to say about the happenings of District 1.
You can read a little about it here or read the full story in The Oklahoman tomorrow. Here’s a press release that Massenat’s supporters sent out tonight:
Oklahoma City, OK – While most people in Oklahoma City were focused on Valentines, a strong group of around 150 supporters gathered at the Oklahoma Theatre Supply to celebrate the resounding victory of Laura Massenat in the race for the Oklahoma City School Board in District 4.
“The amount of support that showed up for Election night party was indicative of the unwavering support we received throughout the race from local parents and citizens from across Distict 4,” Massenat stated while watching the returns roll in. “I am so grateful for the support that we have received and could not give a bigger thank you to the voters and citizens of District 4.”
Massenat avoided a runoff by winning over fifty percent of the vote in the Tuesday election against lobbyist, Patrick Gaines, and homeschool parent and veteran, Crystal Hodges. Hodges came in a close third though widely regarded as the underdog in the race, with Gaines just narrowly edging out Hodges for second place.
“I want to thank my opponents for taking an interest in the children of Oklahoma City and for a lively discussion of the issues,” said Massenat. “I’m glad that with this race behind us, we can all unite to focus on the future of our public schools and the best ways to improve educational opportunities for our children.”
Laura Massenat is the co-owner of Elemental Coffee and the founder of EatWise OKC, a group dedicated to advocating for healthy lifestyles for our children. Massenat is a political newcomer and has not held elected office or run for elected office in the past.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Now that many lawmakers are calling for a freeze on judicial pay and the salaries of all statewide officeholders, state Rep. Jason Nelson said it’s time to also freeze school superintendent salaries.
“Last year we saw hundreds of instances of superintendents getting pay raises while furloughing teachers and increasing class sizes,” said Nelson, R-Oklahoma City. “If it doesn’t make sense to give statewide officeholders a pay raise while Oklahoma is climbing out of recession, the same thing holds true for school superintendents at a time when education budgets have been cut. They should not be getting pay raises when teachers are being asked to do more with less.”
In a recent report, Oklahoma Watchdog found that 356 Oklahoma district superintendents (more than two-thirds) received some form of compensation increase this year. The combined expense of those raises was an extra $1.4 million annually.
Oklahoma Watchdog found that 37 of the superintendents receiving raises oversaw districts placed on the State Department of Education’s “Needs Improvement” list and 16 of those individuals received raises of $5,000 or more .
The Board of Judicial Compensation recently recommended pay increases for judges. Since the compensation of judges and statewide officials is linked, both would get a raise under that proposal.
State Rep. Scott Inman, leader of the House Democratic caucus, has been one of the most vocal critics of potential pay increases for statewide officeholders even though none of those officials could receive a salary increase during their current term in office.
Nelson said the Del City lawmaker should now join him in opposing superintendent pay raises.
“To protect school funding, we have to do more than oppose phantom pay raises that no current statewide officeholder is eligible to receive,” Nelson said. “It is ridiculous to complain about phantom pay raises for current statewide elected officials while ignoring $1.4 million in real pay raises for superintendents across the state.”
Last year, Nelson filed House Bill 1746 to require schools to spend at least 65 percent of funds on direct instructional activities within three years.
That bill included a provision that would have prevented superintendents from furloughing teachers without first having their financial plan reviewed by the State Board of Education so that classroom teachers would be protected.
“My legislation would have protected teachers from layoffs and furloughs, yet it was opposed by superintendents and their allies, including Representative Inman,” Nelson said. “I hope he and other opponents will now join me in standing up for teachers.”
Nelson praised State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi, who announced she would not accept a pay raise when the issue was first raised this month.
“Superintendent Barresi did the right thing for Oklahoma students,” Nelson said. “Given that many local school superintendents are paid more than the governor or state superintendent, there is clearly no reason for local administrators to get a pay raise at the expense of teachers and classroom funding. It’s time to freeze superintendent pay.”