Home > Uncategorized > Episode III – Response to the Response to the Response

Episode III – Response to the Response to the Response

August 28, 2013

First, the response to the response:

Barresi Responds to CCOSA / OSSBA Critique of Plan to Give Teachers $2,000 Raise

CCOSA and the OSSBA have shown their true stripes once again. When I was elected to office in 2010, the voters of Oklahoma gave me a mandate: bring meaningful reform to Oklahoma schools, raise standards, and give Oklahoma’s kids a chance at a brighter future.

The best way to do that is with great teachers.

Even CCOSA and the OSSBA can’t argue that Oklahoma schools don’t have enough money on hand to use ten percent of their carryover funds for increasing teacher salaries. Oklahoma schools had a little more than $565 million carryover entering last year. This year the carryover amount of $710 million ($145 million more than last year) clearly shows they have enough sitting in the bank to give teachers in most every district the additional money they desperately need and deserve.  Whether it is called a raise or a stipend, the key is that our teachers have more money.

The liberal education establishment has fought me the whole way. And they’re not about to let reality get in the way of their agenda. CCOSSA and OSSBA claim that I’ve secured an additional $106 million for programs directed by the State Department of Education, and suggest that money doesn’t benefit schools. What are the funds they’re talking about? School Activity Funds that all go directly to the districts, including money for Teacher and Support Employee Health Insurance, Alternative Education – including online learning options for kids and parents, National Board Certified Teacher stipends, reading and teacher support programs…vital, direct-to-the-district programs for our teachers and students to meet the tougher standards Oklahomans voted for.

The response of CCOSA and OSSBA also conveniently ignores my call for them to re-prioritize just two percent of their administrative overhead. By continuing to improve efficiencies, we can find a sustainable source for teacher pay. We cannot stand by and preserve bloated administrative budgets at the expense of teachers.

I know of no teacher who would scoff at even a one-time $2000 increase in pay. In the meantime, we’ll continue to look at ways to focus and prioritize funding while growing our economy by producing college and career ready students. Together, we can get our teacher pay raised to where it needs to be to support these professionals. As I have said before, other than parents, teachers are the single most important factor in a child’s education. Our shortage is in quality teachers, not administrators.

I agree with two parts of this. Barresi was in fact elected in 2010. And teachers are the most critical piece of public education.

Where we must part company is at the rest of it – the part that I call facts. This spreadsheet that Barresi sent to legislators shows each district’s carryover. Unfortunately, these are the cash forward amounts that districts had in their general fund as of June 30. Wait, that’s June 30, 2011! Those numbers are nowhere near accurate now.

In case you’re not convinced, look at this revenue report for Achille Public Schools. I picked them because they’re first in the alphabet. Both the spreadsheet and the revenue report show a carryover (cash forward amount) of $377,301.31. What’s worse is that her spreadsheet lists the number of full-time teachers with the 2012 figures. So we’re giving legislators 2011 financial data and 2012 employment data to make decisions at the beginning of the 2014 fiscal year. It would be more helpful if Barresi would provide the legislature (and the public) with accurate, current information. I’ve heard from a number of people tonight who are certain that their carryover and staffing levels are much different than what she’s representing.

It would also be good if Barresi would check voter registrations. For some reason, she thinks that there is a “liberal education establishment” in this state. In fact, her disdain for liberal teachers is in part why she formed a charter school and then later ran for state superintendent. However, I don’t think there are as many liberal administrators (or teachers, for that matter) as she believes there are. This is a very red state, and educators make up a significant part of the electorate.

Her call to cut more waste from the budget also rings hollow. For each of the last several years, that’s all schools have done. We’re beyond cutting into the bone at this point.

Oh, one last thing…Oklahoma conservatives aren’t thrilled with Barresi’s pay raise plan either.

  1. Shirley Whitaker
    August 29, 2013 at 5:27 am

    Running scared, isn’t she? Labeling everyone as liberal if they don’t agree with her. She needs to go before she destroys education in Oklahoma!


  2. Brooke Spencer
    August 29, 2013 at 6:32 am

    Thanks for posting this! I didn’t realize that her data was almost 3 years old. Idiot!


  3. Teacher's Husband
    August 29, 2013 at 7:24 am

    She is a typical politician. Cherry pick the numbers to make it what is wanted for presentation. Then hope no one bothers to look into the details and get “the rest of the story.”


  4. Small School SUPT.
    August 29, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I am a superintendent at a small rural school in Oklahoma. I am a conservative. registered Republican. Dr. Barresi is the “worst” thing that Oklahoma schools has had to endure in my 25 years in education. She needs to be gone yesterday ! Her time as state superintendent has caused our local control to go away. I spend most of my time jumping through the SDE’s hoops and sending them information they already have. She has taken over the SDE and transformed it from a agency that we contacted for help, to an agency that we dread calling or hearing from. She has fired or forced to retire long time and knowledgible SDE employee’s and replaced them with her “Political Hacks”. Barresi believes that corporations and political hacks know more about education than the teachers of Oklahoma. She has to go !


    • Another Republican Superintendent
      August 29, 2013 at 11:49 am

      AMEN!! I am also a small school superintendent in Oklahoma and registered Republican. She has made the SDE useless for us. We are treated like the enemy. She has to go!!!


    • shane
      September 4, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Completely agree. I am a registered Republican also, and the extremisn of the Replubican party at the state level has become so idealistic but not at all practical


  5. District CFO
    August 29, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Amen to the small school SUPT. I am a CFO with a district and have been in small, rural, urban and suburban district. We cannot re-elect Dr. Barresi. She is not a “State” Superintendent. She is a charter superintendent and does not have our best interest at heart.


  6. Brooke Spencer
    August 29, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Ultimately, we need to vote for the best candidate for our kids, schools, and teachers, regardless of political affiliation! I find it interesting that some of our democratic candidates have more conservative views than Barresi, such as more LOCAL district control and less interference from the SDE with all the testing, Common Core, and hoopla that has come with it! There are at least 2 democratic candidates who feel this way. I encourage everyone to investigate choices from all parties.


  7. Brooke Spencer
    August 29, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Here is a link to hear the candidates! I believe it is posted in another OKtruths article as well.



  8. August 29, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    From the classroom perspective, I am a PROUD Liberal-leaning middle school Social Studies teacher. I work with many PROUD Conservative-leaning teachers. From personal observation, we ALL pull together to ensure the best possible learning outcomes for our students, and we ALL purchase purchase supplies that our cash-starved district is unable to provide. After all, it’s what we do – meet the needs of our students with no regard to whether we are Liberal or Conservative. Speaking personally, I prefer to forego a raise in pay at this time and elect an educationally-friendly State Superintendent.


  9. Kate
    August 29, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    If given an online test on “What the State Superintendent Should Know” I’m sure the State Dentist would pray for the system to go down and beg to have her test scores thrown out! It’s been 2+years and she appears to have learned…. well…not much!!!!! NOW all of a sudden she cares so much about teachers? It seems her latest round of BS is an attempt to pit teachers against district administration. SHE wants teachers to have a raise but the big ‘ol mean bad wolf administrators say no!!! I think it is ridiculous that someone without an education background….she does not even hold a Superintendent or Principal certificate is at (not necessarily running) the SDE If you want to have a chance of actually being able to talk to someone at the SDE call the ‘concerned” State Dentist directly…521-4886.


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