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Challenger for Oklahoma schools superintendent position outraises opponent in campaign funds

Joy Hofmeister, of Tulsa, has raised more in six months than incumbent schools Superintendent Janet Barresi has in a year and a half.
by Nolan Clay Published: November 2, 2013

A Tulsan running for state schools superintendent raised more in six months than the incumbent has in a year and a half, campaign records show.

Joy Hofmeister has raised a total of $257,909 through Sept. 30 while schools Superintendent Janet Barresi has raised a total of $236,605. Both are Republicans.

The incumbent's total includes $100,000 she loaned her campaign in June.

Barresi is focused on her educational reforms, not fundraising, and isn't concerned, her campaign manager said.

“The difference isn't all that great,” Barresi's campaign manager, Sam Stone, said. “We know we'll be able to continue raising money throughout this campaign and … certainly we'll be competitive financially.”

Stone also said, “There are an awful lot of Democrats lining up behind Joy and also some people … within the education establishment who have been fighting Janet's reforms from Day One. … They know that the Republican primary is … likely to decide this race so the forces against Janet are all lining up right now.”

Barresi has faced repeated criticism since being elected in 2010 for such things as her leadership and the Education Department's handling of A-F school report cards.

Barresi apologized Oct. 18 for the “delay and confusion” surrounding the school report cards. On Oct. 25, she announced that the department would postpone the public release of those report cards. They could be released as early as Wednesday.

Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Keith Ballard recently sent a letter home to parents that slammed the Education Department for its handling of grade card calculations. “Never in my career have I seen this level of dysfunction and ineptitude coming out of the Oklahoma state Department of Education,” he wrote.

Barresi's latest campaign report was filed Friday with the Ethics Commission, records show. Hofmeister's latest report was filed Thursday.

Those reports show that over the latest reporting period, July 1 to Sept. 30, Hofmeister raised $91,853 while Barresi raised $48,850.

In an email to The Oklahoman, Hofmeister said: “People from communities all across Oklahoma have so warmly embraced my campaign. I've received donations from small businessmen, teachers, stay-at-home moms, and school superintendents alike.

“I think people are supporting me because they know I want to put students and families first, and make sure local school districts have control. The families in our school districts clearly know best how to educate their children, but today we are seeing more and more intrusion from Washington, D.C. That's not the right direction for our kids.”

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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