Tulsa School Board candidate forum Thursday

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One of the seven seats on the Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education is up for election on February 13. Incumbent Gary Percefull, a marketing consultant, is opposed by Brenda Barre, a retired Tulsa school teacher.

This Thursday at 7 p.m., there will be a candidate forum sponsored by the Southwest Tulsa Chamber of Commerce and Webster High School, in the Webster school auditorium. The address is 1919 W. 40th St.

This is an important race, a truly competitive election, and this is the last forum currently on the schedule. If you want to know where these candidates stand on educational philosophy, redrawing school boundaries, support for charter schools, you should make plans to attend.

The Whirled has endorsed Percefull.

MORE: If you want to understand why charter schools are an important issue in this election, read last week's column by Jamie Pierson, herself a graduate of Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences.

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The A Team said:

During Gary Perceful's term on the School Board he voted:

To declare a moratorium on Charter Schools, basically legislating from the school board, citing concerns over the Constitutionality of the Charter School law. Ironically, in a recent School Board vote to revisit this Moratorium and clarify the board's position, Percefull voted(a safe vote that would not affect the outcome of the school boards decision) against extending the moratorium. Did Charter Schools suddenly become Constitutional or was that a hollow vote used for political cover in his re-election campaign? What is Gary Percefull's real position on Charter Schools?

To change school hours two weeks before the start of the school year, causing incredible stress and hardship for many families in the Tulsa Public School System as they scrambled to rearrange their schedules and make other accommodations to adjust to this change given on such short notice. Serving on the school board is more than just pushing papers, bond issues, contracts, bricks, and mortar it is understanding the challenges faced by students, parents, and teachers inside and outside of the classroom. Votes like this only illuminate the fact that Mr. Percefull has no background in education nor has he any experience as a parent of a TPS student.

To pay lobbyist Margaret Erling(you might remember the name from her involvement with Great Plains Airlines) $50,000 annually to lobby the state and recently an additional $90,000 to hire Heartland Consulting as federal lobbyists. Yet he voted to deny allowing teachers to take a paid personal day they had earned off to lobby at the state legislature, infringing on their first amendment rights to freedom of assembly and expression.
***(It should be noted that Mr. Percefull is himself a paid political Consultant and Campaign manager for GOBN candidates such as Tom Baker, and David Patrick. This pay to play mercenary K street mentality that has hijacked our Democracy in regards to public policy, might explain his opposition to letting teachers take an earned, paid, personal day off to do what TPS could gladly be paying more ineffective, overpriced lobbyists to do)***

To redraw school district boundaries to curry favor with affluent, influential, mid-town neighborhoods to feed into Edison instead of Webster or Central in what can best be described as blatant gerrymandering. In the case of Webster, that is suffering from declining enrollment, it might have spared the school from exploring changing to a magnet school in order to remain open. While this magnet school change might sound like a positive thing for Webster and the Westside, parents and students might be alarmed to wake up to the realization that they would have to apply to attend their neighborhood high school. Remember Booker T. Washington's conversion to a magnet school?

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on January 29, 2007 11:04 PM.

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