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.
You have the chance to ask the superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools a question. Here’s how:
If you could ask the leader of Oklahoma City Public Schools anything, what would you ask?
Well, actually, you can ask the superintendent anything.
NewsOK is accepting questions for Superintendent Karl Springer from the public through noon Tuesday, July 24. Reporters will choose the best questions for a special back-to-school Q&A with the leader of the state’s largest school district.
Here’s how to submit a question:
- Post a comment on this story or on NewsOK’s Facebook page.
- Tweet @NewsOK or @carriejacobs.
- Email email@example.com.
And you can leave a comment here on this blog if you have a question as well. I’ve already received a couple of really good ones, so don’t be shy! I know there are more out there!
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.
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.
Thank you to John Marshall for sharing their fabulous photos with us from their May 10 graduation ceremony. Principal Aspasia Carlson said it was a wonderful night. Star Spencer and Southeast honor their graduates tonight, and a full list of Oklahoma City Public Schools graduation will be in The Oklahoman tomorrow.
Auditors have discovered three secret banks accounts used by the state Education Department. Check back to NewsOK.com for more as this develops. Here’s the auditor’s press release for now:
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Auditor Gary Jones released a supplemental investigative report today requested by the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
This supplemental investigative report follows an initial special audit report released January 4, 2012, which reviewed travel claims by a former state education department official.
“Superintendent Janet Barresi and the state School Board originally asked for a special audit regarding some suspicious travel claims by a former employee,” said State Auditor Gary Jones. “Information came to light during that investigation that suggested a much bigger problem had existed at the State Department of Education.
“We brought the information to the attention of Superintendent Barresi and requested permission to continue to investigate the existence of a previously unknown bank account,” Jones said. “We appreciate her full support and assistance in this matter.”
During the course of this limited investigation, the State Auditor became aware of three unauthorized, previously unknown bank accounts that were utilized as a slush fund to spend more than $2.3 million over a 10-year period. The use of these accounts allowed former State Education Department Officials to issue payments shielded from government oversight as well as public scrutiny.
SAI investigators spent many hours reviewing documents and conducting interviews during the course of this investigation.
The supplemental investigative report is available at the State Auditor’s website, www.sai.ok.gov
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.”
Oklahoma’s two largest school districts both will have new superintendents by the end of the calendar year.
Last night, the Tulsa School Board voted to offer a contract to Keith Ballard to take the place of Michael Zolkoski.
But some people in the district are disgruntled over the process, or what they say is a lack thereof, that led to his selection. (The board brought up the possibility of hiring Ballard the same day it agreed to part ways with Zolkoski.)
When the Oklahoma City School District was faced earlier this year with a similar situation — hiring a new leader after the old one departed before the end of his contract — it took a different approach of soliciting community feedback first.
The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools held meetings and compiled a report with patron suggestions.
How about some more feedback now that it’s over?
Do you think that input sincerely influenced the Oklahoma City School Board’s decision to hire Karl Springer this summer? Do you think Tulsa should have taken the same route as Oklahoma City?
Share your thoughts on the superintendent selection processes here.
The annual meeting of CareerTech educators and administrators started today in a new location — downtown Oklahoma City. (Previously, meetings have been held in Tulsa.) But CareerTech state director Phil Berkinbile had another locale in mind in his opening address — DisneyWorld.
He said Walt Disney’s dream started with a drawing of a mouse and a vision of greatness. CareerTech doesn’t have Mickey Mouse but it does aim “to help make dreams and success a reality for Oklahomans,” he said.
The CareerTech system of vocational technical schools across the state helps tens of thousands of high school students and adults each year gain job readiness skills, and for many, a start on a college education.
But the system also struggles with higher operating costs amid stagnant state funding, loss of many Baby Boomer instructors to retirement, and a significant high school drop out rate.
Still, CareerTech graduates add $2 billion annually to the state’s economy, Berkinbile said.
Now that’s a mouse that roars.
Susan Simpson, Education Writer