In The Know: Oklahoma still short teachers after pay raise despite improved hiring, Stitt calling for higher education chancellor to be replaced, High uninsured rate one of many factors behind state’s low health ranking

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

OK Policy adds Outreach and Legislative Liaison, Senior Field Organizer to advocacy team: OK Policy is excited to announce that Nicole Poindexter has joined the organization as a full-time Outreach and Legislative Liaison and that Kyle Lawson has been promoted to a new position as Senior Field Organizer. [OK Policy]

In The News

Oklahoma still short teachers after pay raise, survey finds, despite improved hiring: Public schools in Oklahoma are starting the new academic year with nearly 600 teaching vacancies, but many more districts are adding new positions, a new statewide survey has found. The sixth annual survey to gauge the extent of the state’s teacher shortage by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association was completed by 305 districts that serve nearly 81% of all public school students. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt calling for higher education chancellor to be replaced: Gov. Kevin Stitt is pushing for Glen Johnson, Oklahoma’s longtime higher education chancellor, to be replaced. “Oklahomans hired me to put a fresh set of eyes on everything in state government,” the governor said Tuesday. “And the fact of the matter is, the chancellor has been there for 12 years — he’s been in government for over 37 years — and I just don’t think we’re performing like we should. We need a fresh set of eyes. We need fresh blood in higher ed. [The OklahomanState spending on higher education has decreased by 26 percent since 2008, and that funding has not yet been restored.

QuikTrip says criminal justice reform state question has driven up crime at its stores by 300%: Following the passage of a criminal justice reform state question, property crimes in Oklahoma became worse compared to other states in which QuikTrip operates, the company’s manager of public and government affairs said.  [Tulsa WorldStatewide reports of theft began to fall between 2016 and 2017, and have continued to fall since the adoption of SQ 780.

Carter Co. jail didn’t train staff on medical protocols, former deputy testifies: When a Carter County deputy found Michael Manos unresponsive in his cell, detention staff at the jail did not know how to properly respond, a former deputy testified Tuesday. “There was no training on that situation,” he said. [The Frontier]

Following teen’s death, state agency recommends Oklahoma County Jail change its suicide prevention policies: A state oversight agency said there were inconsistencies in the Oklahoma County Detention Center’s suicide prevention policies and found the facility doesn’t train detention officers on how to work with juveniles. [The Frontier] An investigation and review of the Oklahoma County sheriff’s office after the death of a 16-year-old inmate in May showed no misconduct of jail employees, though there are recommended changes to policies around detained juveniles. [The Oklahoman]

A tough sell for Oklahoma DOC: The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is doing its best to address a significant shortage of correctional officers. Consider this job description by the agency’s spokesman, Matt Elliott. [Editorial Board / The Oklahoman

High uninsured rate one of many factors behind state’s low health ranking: While Oklahoma’s nation-leading percentage of citizens without health insurance is a big contributor to the state’s poor overall condition, other factors are important to know about – and as critical to act upon to reverse a decades long slide toward the bottom of U.S. health rankings. [Journal Record ????] Expanding Medicaid is one of the best ways to improve our uninsured rate – and it will save lives.

See scores from sites across the state for 2019 Oklahoma School Testing Program: A Tulsa World analysis of the 2019 Oklahoma School Testing Program shows most local districts outperformed state averages in the third year of Oklahoma’s latest standardized tests — at least through fifth grade. Middle school math was a different story, with close to half the districts performing below the state average in each of those grades. [Tulsa World]

Commissioner questions rural telephone subsidy: A top state utility regulator is questioning why lawmakers still require millions of Oklahomans to subsidize rural phone and internet access. In addition to funding rural telephone companies, the fees are used to pay for high-speed internet for telemedicine, schools, and libraries statewide. [CHNI]

Corporation Commission approves agreement to reduce rates for ONG customers: The Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Tuesday signed off on a stipulated agreement that will return about $27 million to Oklahoma Natural Gas customers during the coming year. [The Oklahoman]

Studies focus on water supplies in Oklahoma: The Oklahoma Water Resources Board had completed recent studies of Oklahoma’s water supplies. One was part of an effort to better understand the impact of droughts. [OK Energy Today]

Many OKC residents want MAPS 4 to focus on social services, human needs: There is precedent for MAPS packages to have elements geared toward improving the everyday life of residents, but MAPS 4 is a significant shift, said city manager Craig Freeman. [The Oklahoman] Ward 5 Councilman David Greenwell wanted to know whether advocates going after MAPS 4 dollars would be held to account, required to produce measurable results. [The Oklahoman]

Housing evaluation: Tulsa is top Oklahoma venue to purchase a home: Tulsa is the best place to buy a home in the state, according to a new study. released the 50 best and worst zip codes to buy a home in Oklahoma, and four of the top five were in Tulsa. [Tulsa World] Owasso named among best cities in Oklahoma for middle-class families in new study. [Owasso Reporter]

Value of Oklahoma farm land increases 3.9%, well above national average: Farm real estate values in Oklahoma increased by 3.9% from 2018 to 2019, compared with a modest 1.9% average for the rest of the country, according to a recently released report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [Journal Record ????]

Lankford says NAFTA replacement a “big deal” for Oklahoma: Oklahoma U.S. Senator James Lankford made a stop in Grove last week and told members of the Grove Rotary Club that Oklahoma will see many benefits from a proposed replacement for the NAFTA trade agreement. [Shawee News-Star]

Quote of the Day

“State leaders deserve thanks for directing more support to schools, but I think they also understand we aren’t at the finish line when it comes to ensuring all teachers and all students have the resources and support they need to excel.”

– Shawn Hime, Executive Director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Share of Oklahoma state tax revenue from corporate income tax. The average state collects 4.7 percent of taxes from this source. Corporate income tax provides a larger share of tax revenue than Oklahoma in 40 of the 45 states collecting this tax.

[Source: Pew Charitable Trusts]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

It’s not just paychecks: The surprising society-wide benefits of raising the minimum wage: The central question in the minimum-wage debate has shifted. Where economists once asked, “Will raising the wage floor kill jobs?” they now ask, “Just how transformative could a higher minimum wage be?” [The Washington Post]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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