ScissorTales: Not enough snow days this year? One more is planned

Published: February 8, 2014
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LLOYD Snow, superintendent of Sand Springs Public Schools, can’t wait for a March 31 rally at the Capitol in support of more funding for Oklahoma public schools.

Snow’s school board has voted to let classes out that day, and has “urged our entire community to participate in this rally for funding and better policies.”

“It is our hope turnpikes across the state will be jammed with yellow school buses and care caravans to support this day,” he told the Tulsa World.

It’s bad enough that school districts will close that day to make a pitch that’s been made a thousand times before – public schools are being “starved,” teachers are “underappreciated,” lawmakers “don’t care” about education. The Tulsa school board voted this week to burn a snow day so its patrons can take part in the festivities; others are sure to follow.

But using public property – school buses – to ferry folks to a private event (it is sponsored by a group called the Oklahoma Education Coalition) is an outrage, and those residents who live in these school districts should loudly object.

Meantime, here’s a salute to Tulsa school board member Lois Jacobs. She was the only member of the panel to vote against the idea of cancelling classes that day.

For Ron Millican

Only one Oklahoma City School Board race is on the ballot Tuesday. District 5 representative Ruth Veales didn’t draw a challenger. That leaves incumbent Ron Millican to face the man he defeated in the District 7 race four years ago. Millican has been a steady, solid contributor to the board. He brought a wealth of experience to the job, as a retired longtime teacher and administrator in Midwest City-Del City schools. That experience and his demeanor will be important in the years ahead, as it’s possible there could be redistricting in southeast Oklahoma City to deal with school overcrowding. Millican also will have a say in selecting a permanent superintendent and in the formulation of the next big bond package for schools. Patrons in this district have been well served by Millican and on Tuesday should re-elect him to another term.

Liberal Oklahoma Republicans?

After U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, announced he was running for the U.S. Senate, out-of-state groups immediately denounced him as a liberal. As we noted at the time, those groups’ portrayals made Lankford sound like Ted Kennedy, not an Oklahoma Republican. Apparently, state voters aren’t buying the propaganda. A poll of 627 likely Republican primary voters by Harper Polling shows Lankford has the support of 54 percent; his closest competitor had just 18 percent. Lankford was buoyed by enormous support in the Oklahoma City area, which he has represented, but he also had a narrow lead in Tulsa. And those who were polled are hardly “Republicans in name only” – 68 percent approved of the federal government shutdown; 56 percent preferred a candidate who identified with the tea party. To claim James Lankford is liberal apparently requires a definition so broad that it includes a majority of Oklahoma Republicans as well.

An example worth noting

A mouthpiece for President Barack Obama is promoting his call for an increase in the minimum wage. The advocacy group Organizing for Action has produced a 30-second video extolling the virtues of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 from its current $7.25. Obama used his State of Union speech to urge Congress to “Give America a raise” and cited a small Minnesota pizza maker who had recently upped his employees’ pay to $10 an hour. We’ve got a better example: Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby. In 2013, Hobby Lobby raised its minimum wage for full-time workers for the fifth straight year, to $14 per hour. It also bumped pay for part-timers to $9.50. Of course Obama was unlikely to note that, given Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit over his administration’s mandate that companies cover emergency contraceptives in employee health plans.

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