Moore Teachers: State Superintendent Denied Early Funds For Tornado Recovery

Monday, June 24th 2013, 6:51 pm

State Superintendent Janet Barresi is defending herself after facing heavy criticism from Moore teachers. Those teachers say she refused to help when the district asked for state funds early to help with tornado recovery.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

Just days after the Moore tornado, State Superintendent Janet Barresi spoke to teachers with the Moore School District.

"She talked about moving heaven and earth, she would do everything she could do to help us get our feet back on the ground," said Jill Dudley, president of the Moore Association of Classroom Teachers.

Dudley's upset because when the Moore incoming superintendent called Barresi and asked for their allocation of state aid to be divided up into twelve, instead of 11 installments, so they could get money in July, Barresi said "no." With two schools destroyed and another heavily damaged a spokesperson for the Moore school district says they need money now.

"As a teacher I'm insulted an elected official would stand in front of us and make those kinds of promises and then when they are called upon to put it to the test, they say "nope, sorry, can't do it."

"It is really not helpful for Moore to have to dip into their general revenue fund and that is what they were asking for," Barresi countered.

Superintendent Barresi says the Moore district's allocation would have been about $5 million. That's money her office doesn't have yet. And even if it did, she says state law prevents her from giving it out before August 1.

"We have a state statute that prohibits funds from going to districts in any more than an 11 month period," Barresi said.

But Superintendent Barresi says she is personally working with the state Department of Emergency Management to get funds released from their office to help out the Moore School District.


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