In The Know: Gov. Fallin meets with Trump about Cabinet post

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.

Today In The News

Gov. Fallin meets with Trump about Cabinet post: Gov. Mary Fallin met with President-elect Donald J. Trump in New York City on Monday morning and said afterward that she was not offered a job in his administration. Fallin, who has two years left on her term, has been discussed as a possible secretary of interior, a department that includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Geological Survey. The department oversees oil and gas production on federal land [NewsOK]. Former Oklahoma Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon met with Trump over the weekend [KGOU].

Two Oklahoma School Districts Report Success With 4-Day Weeks: When News 9’s Justin Dougherty recently sat down with Gov. Mary Fallin, she brought up the topic of 4-day school weeks. She says they’re bad for business, but for at least two school districts they’re saving money and business is good. “The way I took it is 4-day weeks were an embarrassment. It’s very offensive because we’re doing everything that we can to make students successful,” said Morrison Principal Brent Haken. Morrison Principal Brent Haken and Coyle Superintendent Josh Sumrall have heard Fallin’s request for schools to step up and look at their expenses to avoid 4-day weeks. But that’s tough to hear for these two administrators, who say they’re filling-in as bus drivers, lunch servers and substitute teachers [NewsOn6].

OKCPS board shuts down plan to return to traditional school year: The Oklahoma City Public Schools board voted to keep so-called year-round school Monday night. Superintendent Aurora Lora recommended the board keep year-round school and, ultimately, the members did. The board voted to keep the continuous calendar year with a vote of 6-1, after a heated discussion over whether the cost of the program is really paying off [KFOR].

Broken Arrow Public Schools, city leaders urge Oklahoma legislators to increase education funding: Leaders of multiple cities, school districts and chambers of commerce surrounding Tulsa converged Monday morning to urge Oklahoma legislators to increase teacher pay for the sake of the state’s public education and economic development. Broken Arrow officials organized the joint news conference at Oak Crest Elementary School, where approximately 50 people representing five cities including Tulsa and four suburban school districts gathered to advocate for increased education funding [Tulsa World].

Tulsa County commissioners approve new medical services contract for jail: Tulsa County commissioners gave final approval Monday to a new agreement for comprehensive health services at the Tulsa Jail. The much-discussed contract with Turn Key Health Clinics of Oklahoma City becomes effective Dec. 1. Turn Key has said it will interview employees of the current provider, Armor Correctional Health Services, for positions under the new management. Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado said upfront savings from the deal probably will not be as much as first thought, but he is confident the Turn Key agreement will be more cost-effective by providing better services [Tulsa World].

Oklahoma policymakers need to confront jail-health challenges: With their decision Nov. 8 to reclassify some felony crimes as misdemeanors, Oklahoma voters displayed a willingness to try something different in the area of criminal justice. Policymakers should follow that lead and consider ways to standardize medical and mental health treatment for the state’s jail inmates. A series of stories continuing Sunday in The Oklahoman examines the significant hurdles men and women often face in getting treatment for mental health issues once they’ve landed in their county jail [The Oklahoman Editorial Board].

McCurtain County Jail Video: The Death of Corey Carter: Reporter Clifton Adcock describes what he observes in this video (without sound) of the arrival of Corey Carter to the McCurtain County Jail on Feb. 12, 2015, and Carter’s fatal struggle with jailers. Carter was pronounced dead the next day at a Texarkana, Texas, hospital. No McCurtain County jailers were charged or disciplined in the death [Oklahoma Watch].

Oklahoma lawmakers will consider putting wind tax credit on chopping block: As lawmakers look for a way to bring more money to the state, a trim of a growing wind tax credit likely will be front and center next legislative session. Senate President Pro Tem-nominee Mike Schulz, R-Altus, said he anticipates legislation to “accelerate the sunset” of the so-called zero-emissions tax credit, which applies to power generation facilities, such as wind, that do not generate emissions. A consultant has made recommendations to the state’s Incentive Evaluation Commission on a dozen business incentives, including the zero-emissions credit [The Oklahoman].

Protesters, counter-protesters gather outside state Capitol: Hundreds of people gathered Sunday on the south lawn of the state Capitol for the “Rally Against Hate.” Billed as an event to celebrate commonalities and create an inclusive Oklahoma, the rally had a broad coalition of groups attending to demand that mayors, governors and other elected officials maintain safe communities for everyone. While counter-protesters also were at the Capitol, there were no immediate reports of violence or arrests [NewsOK].

Quote of the Day

“When new potential employers are raising concerns about our commitment to public education and using it as a reason for not accepting positions here, our local businesses and industries suffer greatly. We all know that perception is reality. Even though we know we have wonderful school districts, with great teachers serving our students every single day, the negative publicity we are receiving now beyond Oklahoma does not help us. It makes the problem even worse.”

-Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce President Wes Smithwick (Source)

Number of the Day


Number of acres of farmland in Oklahoma in 2015

Source: United States Department of Agriculture

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Benefits, Costs of Tulsa’s Universal Pre-K Examined: When it comes to investing in pre-K, economics has been as much a part of the conversation as education. “Every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood education can save more than seven dollars later on,” President Obama declared in his 2013 State of the Union address. And some researchers have suggested, depending on the program, a return on investment as high as 16-to-1. These impressive numbers have become a staple of arguments for increased investment in pre-K [New America]. 

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Ryan Gentzler worked at OK Policy from January 2016 until November 2022. He last served as the organization's Reserach Director and oversaw Open Justice Oklahoma. He began at OK Policy as an analyst focusing on criminal justice issues, including sentencing, incarceration, court fines and fees, and pretrial detention. Open Justice Oklahoma grew out of Ryan’s groundbreaking analysis of court records, which was used to inform critical policy debates. A native Nebraskan, he holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma and a BA in Institutions and Policy from William Jewell College. He served as an OK Policy Research Fellow in 2014-2015.

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