BY MIKE W. RAY
Seems an AG’s opinion “confirms that the state Department of Education can overrule a local school board that rejects a charter school application.”
“I am disappointed to see our attorney general disregard local government and duly-elected representatives on a local school board,” Gann was quoted as saying. “Regardless of the pros and cons of charter schools versus public schools, this is a new, unprecedented concentration of power in the hands of the governor, who appoints every member of the SDE.”
To loosely paraphrase the Bible: As the GOP sows, so shall it reap.
Rep. Gann’s criticism is misplaced. In pointing a finger of blame, Gann need only look at his own Republican colleagues.
The genesis of his complaint can be traced to SB 782, which the Republican-controlled Legislature approved 28 months ago.
SB 782 permits the State Board of Education to sponsor a charter school if an application has first been denied by a local school district.
Authors of the measure were then-Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, and former House Speaker Pro Tempore Lee Denney, R-Cushing.
The bill passed the Senate by an overwhelming margin, 35-7.
In the House of Representatives, SB 782 was endorsed on a 64-31 vote recorded on April 14, 2015. All 64 “aye” votes were cast by Republicans; voting in opposition were 26 Democrats and 5 Republicans.
Rep. Gann receives an “F” grade for insufficient homework on this issue.
– Mike W. Ray, a veteran Oklahoma journalist, lives in Oklahoma City. He recently retired after four years as media director for state House Democrats.