Monday, February 7, 2011

Senate Panel Votes To Neuter Ed Board

The Senate Education Committee has given approval to a bill to give the State Superintendent greater control over policy, while increasing accountability to the public.

The move apparently means the appointed Board of Education would be netutered and have litte or no future authority over the department or the elected superintendent.

Senate Bill 718 was approved today. The vote was 12 to 5.

The measure was authored by Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman and Senate Education Chairman John Ford.

“This is about honoring the will of the people and who they choose to direct education policy in our state. Every four years, the citizens decide who can best do that job,” Ford said.

“Senate Bill 718 will make sure our state superintendent can do the job she was elected to do.”

Bingman said the state superintendent should have the same statutory authority as other statewide elected officials to implement policy and shape the department’s direction.

“Oklahomans spoke loud and clear in November that they were tired of the status quo in education, and they supported Superintendent Janet Barresi’s desire to reform our public school system,” Bingman said. “As their elected representatives, we have a responsibility to make sure their voice is heard and their will is honored.”

SB 718, co-authored by House Speaker Kris Steele, will next be heard by the full Senate.

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