This time of the year is always exciting for a lot of people. Students (and teachers) are excited to have finished another year. We are beginning the summer and there are a lot of plans being made for the lake or vacation. In May we celebrated Mother’s Day, there are many graduations, athletic state competitions, dance recitals, and etc.
This year District 18 was well represented at the state baseball tournament with Eufaula making it to the finals again this year. The weather didn’t cooperate and the Ironheads were forced to play a double header on Saturday and they came up short. I had the pleasure of attending the game in Edmond and I was thrilled to see the support from the citizens of the Eufaula area. I fully expect to see the Ironheads back in the state championship game next year.
District 18 was also well represented in the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence in Education Academic All-State. Eric Breon, from Eufaula, and Austyn Roberts, from McAlester, were selected this year as Academic All-Staters. This is one of the highest academic honors a student can receive in Oklahoma. As a former high school counselor, I remember a representative of the University of Oklahoma telling me, “It is more difficult to be selected as an Oklahoma Academic All-Stater than it is to be admitted to medical school.” So, congratulations to Eric and Austyn and we look forward to great things from you in the future!
There were several issues discussed on the final days of session, but one which was not heard was Senate Bill 264. This legislation would have deregulated many state laws regarding local school policies and given greater authority to local school boards. Many of the protections and policies established through House Bill 1017 from the early 1990s and legislation since would have been eliminated with this current proposal. I am happy this did not come up for a vote in the House as it was one of the bills which surfaced in the final week with completely new language.
Another bill would have created a modified state job with an increased salary. The alternate version to SB 929 would have amended the law to create an overseer for state licenses with upwards of $130,000 for a salary. This bill, after failing in committee, was amended back to the original language to create a task force to review suggested changes. I’m hoping further study will allow us to proceed in the right direction on changes in this area.
Another bill which passed, SB 260, delays the implementation of full-day kindergarten until the 2013-2014 school year. This was necessary due to the budget shortfall we are facing and the effect of losing several paid positions in the school system, including many in the District 18 area. This bill contained other items which were not good in my opinion, such as allowing charter schools to implement fees in certain instances and granting them the allowance of certain bonding mechanisms, but the overall need for the first provision was so great that this compromise was necessary. Too often, we see things like this happen with bills, such as the need to pass the additional ad valorem funding under SB 972, even though it fell short of the necessary funding goals.
I hope that all of you had a great Memorial Day weekend. Please take the time to thank veterans and soldiers for their service. We also owe a lot to organizations such as Blue Star Mothers that raise money to purchase items from back home for our troops overseas.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns please contact me at my office number at (405) 557-7376 or (918) 916-9004. You can also email me at email@example.com.
Thank you and God Bless America!
Donnie Condit, D-McAlester, is the District 18 state representative.