Bartlesville plan to be unveiled Monday with board vote on suspension

posted Mar 9, 2018, 7:31 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Mar 9, 2018, 10:27 AM ]

A proposal to solve the state school funding crisis will be unveiled at the Bartlesville Board of Education meeting on Monday, March 12 at 5:45 p.m. in Bartlesville High School’s Fine Arts Center Auditorium, with a challenge to the legislature to finally act before a statewide school suspension occurs in early April. The meeting will include a vote on a recommendation from the superintendent to authorize a suspension of all Bartlesville classes if the legislature fails to act.

The venue was changed to the high school’s auditorium to allow as many attendees as possible. The two previous board meetings have seen confirmed attendance of over 330 and then over 500 people, with unanimous public comment in favor of action supporting a teacher raise and improved school funding. The Oklahoma Education Association has indicated a statewide suspension of schools will begin on Monday, April 2 if the legislature fails to address the crisis.

Bartlesville has been a leader in the effort to find a solution to the school funding crisis in Oklahoma. The local Board of Education began discussing the possibility of a school suspension months ago as a last resort if the legislature continued to fail to increase school revenue. After the latest school funding plan, Step Up Oklahoma, failed to pass on February 12, Bartlesville Superintendent Chuck McCauley began polling other superintendents across the state to gauge their boards’ interest in discussing a suspension of classes.

It appears that districts serving a majority of the state’s public school students are interested in discussing a suspension. The Oklahoma Education Association met with a large number of school superintendents earlier this week and reached consensus on a statewide shutdown, with an initial date of April 23. But a hue and cry from teachers across the state led the OEA to advance the beginning of a suspension to April 2, the day after a 2003 law requires that the state adopt an education budget. The state legislature has repeatedly flouted its own law, only once actually adopting a budget on time.

Bartlesville High School students staged a 22-minute walkout earlier this month to protest $22 million in school funding cuts after the Step Up Oklahoma plan failed. Since then students at other schools across the state have followed suit.

To comply with the Open Meeting Act, the board meeting will initially convene at 5:30 p.m. at the district’s Education Service Center with a plurality of the board members promptly voting to reconvene the meeting at 5:45 p.m. at the high school.

  1. The meeting at the school will begin with recognitions of the Academic All-State students, the swimming, basketball, pom, and wrestling teams, and high school principal LaDonna Chancellor.
  2. That will be followed by public comment, with each person’s remarks limited to 5 minutes. 
  3. The Superintendent’s Report will include an unveiling of a revenues and expenditures plan to solve the state school funding crisis. 
  4. The only action topics for the meeting will be a recommendation to authorize the superintendent to close all District schools for a set number of days if a teacher “walkout” occurs and to add instructional minutes to the school day at Bartlesville High School beginning in mid-March to accommodate a prolonged suspension.
The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise has been invited to do another Facebook Live stream of the meeting, but there's nothing like being there in person.
Board Meeting