Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Oklahoma Faces Another Revenue Failure, Agencies To See Mid-Year Budget Cuts

The Oklahoma Board of Equalization declared a revenue failure for the current fiscal year, which will result in mid-year appropriations cuts to state agencies. State agencies will receive across board cuts of 0.7 percent between March and June of this year. In total, agencies will be cut by $34.6 million. Preston Doerflinger, the Director and Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology, said the situation is dire and more revenue is needed. “I need you, members, I beg you...

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okhouse.gov

A bill prohibiting abortions without the father’s approval passes out of House Committee.

Representative Justin Humphrey says he took the title off House Bill 1441 so it could be amended and go through the committee process. The Atoka Republican says he wants the bill to start the conversation of getting a father involved in the pregnancy.

"I'm proud that I've gotten a chance to start the conversation. Where the conversation ends, we're not sure."

Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that it was "highly likely" that the Senate Intelligence Committee would look into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with the Russian ambassador in December regarding sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.

McConnell would not directly answer whether he was confident that Trump did not direct Flynn's conversation on sanctions.

"You ought to ask the White House those kinds of questions," McConnell said.

okhouse.gov

A Republican lawmaker from southeast Oklahoma who described a pregnant woman as a "host" is standing by his use of the term, saying his intent was not to offend anyone.

State Rep. Justin Humphrey of Atoka said Monday he didn't know of a better term to describe a pregnant woman and apologized to anyone who took offense.

Headlines for Tuesday, February 14, 2017:

  • Controversy grows over new Supreme Court Justice. (Non Doc)

  • Democrats call for Justice to step down over controversy. (Fox25)

With a nearly $900 million budget shortfall, Oklahoma lawmakers want accountability for every penny. But within the coffers of private charter school management companies are millions of dollars that lawmakers can't see. 

Senator Jason Smalley wants to know exactly how much schools are spending on administration. He filed a bill to find out, because right now he said it’s not clear.

“Are all the individuals that should be classified as administration costs, actually being reported as that?” he asked. “I think that’s what the greater conversation is.”

The Oklahoma Democratic Party is challenging Gov. Mary Fallin's appointment to the state Supreme Court, saying he doesn't live in Supreme Court District 2 in southeastern Oklahoma.

The party released a statement Monday saying Fallin's selection of Solicitor General Patrick Wyrick to the state's highest court shows "a callous disregard for the Oklahoma Constitution."

Updated at 9:59 a.m. ET Feb. 14

President Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned late Monday night amid allegations he inappropriately talked about U.S. sanctions with a Russian official, and later allegedly misled then-Vice President-elect Pence about the conversations. Flynn spoke with the Russian ambassador in December, before Trump was inaugurated.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

There is a debate nationwide over the effectiveness of online education, and Oklahoma isn’t immune to it. Here, enrollment in virtual schools is booming, but the schools are performing poorly. There are also questions about the companies that run these schools and their financial practices.

Opponents to online education say the state should stop supporting virtual schools until there’s more information about them. But, others say they are vital to certain types of students. 

Throughout middle school, Toby Carter’s teachers struggled to keep him challenged.

Headlines for Monday, February 13, 2017:

  • A new study ranks Oklahoma number one in children abused or neglected by foster parents in 2015. (NewsOK)

  • Oregon rape survivor hopes to change laws in Oklahoma. (NewsOK)

Tulsa Public Schools

At all elementary and middle schools and some high schools in the Houston Independent School District — 220 in all — every student begins the day with a free breakfast right in the classroom.

The result: fewer absences and discipline problems and an increase in math scores, according to the district’s former superintendent Terry Grier.

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KOSU's Michael Cross talks about political news in Oklahoma with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican political consultant Neva Hill.

Stream classical music via our partners at KUCO!

Education News

oksenate.gov

A Senate education committee passed a school choice measure on Monday, which riled a lot of debate from lawmakers.

Education Savings Accounts are a touchy subject. They allow parents to use state tax dollars, that would normally go to a public school, towards private school tuition instead.

Senator Rob Standridge says his ESA bill, SB560, is aimed at helping low-income families afford a better educational option for their child.

oksenate.gov

A Oklahoma Senate subcommittee passed seven bills about teacher pay on Wednesday, each one providing a different solution to the teacher pay problem.

Some of the bills propose $1,000 raises, others $10,000. Some provide funding mechanisms, while others do not.

Senator J.J. Dossett (D-Owasso) says this is just the beginning of the conversation. He says the legislature knows raising teacher pay is the right thing to do and they've just got to figure out the right way to do it.

With a nearly $900 million budget shortfall, Oklahoma lawmakers want accountability for every penny. But within the coffers of private charter school management companies are millions of dollars that lawmakers can't see. 

Senator Jason Smalley wants to know exactly how much schools are spending on administration. He filed a bill to find out, because right now he said it’s not clear.

“Are all the individuals that should be classified as administration costs, actually being reported as that?” he asked. “I think that’s what the greater conversation is.”

More Education News
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