Posted: Nov 07, 2019 8:45 PMUpdated: Nov 07, 2019 9:07 PM

Superintendents Field Questions During PEAK Panel

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Garrett Giles

Five local school superintendents spoke before a crowd at the St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Bartlesville on Thursday night.

Those superintendents comprised a panel that was sponsored by the Public Education Advocates for Kids. Each superintendent had an opportunity to address Governor Kevin Stitt's goal to put Oklahoma among the “Top 10” in education among other states.

Bartlesville Superintendent Chuck McCauley said it will boil down to per pupil funding. He said the state needs to continue to invest in education.

According to McCauley, if you look at per pupil expenditures and how much the state spends on kids per pupil compared to other states in the region, Oklahoma is ranked dead last. That funding, McCauley said, would be all they need to make a difference for their kids.

Dewey Superintendent Vince Vincent said he hopes that they move forward and further understand that school culture and safety are vital and are highly valued. He said schools tend to lean to that more often than any standardized testing any day.

Caney Valley Superintendent Rick Peters said it depends on how they are able to reach kids in tough situations. He said they need to embed counselors, mental health workers, and DHS workers into their schools.

That to Peters will help them to meet a child's needs physically and emotionally. That in turn will help them academically.

Bowring Superintendent Nicole Hinkle said they need to cut down on classroom sizes. She said class sizes are so big that teachers are unable to build relationships with their students. That can make it nearly impossible to meet some students where they are at in life and in school.

Nowata Superintendent Chris Peters said it most things tend to come back to dollars and cents. But he did say if it was possible to access training for the Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies at no cost, or if there were other resources they could infuse without having to use tax dollars, they may be able to better meet students where they need to be met.

A question and answer session followed from those responses. Those in attendance had the opportunity to write questions for the panelists to answer during the hour and a half long event. Questions submitted before the start of the PEAK panel were also answered by the superintendents.

Three of the five superintendents brought students with them to ask the questions that were brought before them by the crowd on Thursday night. Those students included Caleb Antle of Dewey, Stone Yang of Bartlesville, and Alex Thomason and Dakota Johnson of Caney Valley. They are pictured below.

PEAK Moderator Keri Bostwick (also pictured below) by night's end said the most important seats, however, were the seats that everyone sat in in the crowd. She said it is up to us to hold legislators accountable to their goals for education, and to elect leaders that will make a difference.

Closure was also given by Bartlesville-area state legislators that attended the meeting. District 10 Representative Judd Strom, District 11 Representative Darrel Fincher, and Senator Julie Daniels quickly paraphrased what they had heard during the event and how they will look to handle education moving forward in Oklahoma City at the Capitol.

To hear the full panel discussion, click here.

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