Oklahoma Education Board Meeting Quiet

Thursday, February 24th 2011, 9:15 am
By: News 9

Staff and Wire Reports

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The second meeting of the state Board of Education under new Superintendent Janet Barresi began quietly with a state trooper on hand for security.

The meeting Thursday morning is the first since last month's contentious meeting in which board member Tim Gilpin called Barresi a "dictator" and fellow member Herb Rozell said a legislative liaison would be "worthless" if she took maternity leave while the Legislature was in session. The board also refused to hire three Barresi appointees.

Gilpin was mostly quiet after the meeting began while Rozell is absent.

A standing-room only crowd attending the meeting included members of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity. An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper being present for security was unusual.

Both sides say they're trying to put the contentious meeting behind them.

"Well I certainly hope it isn't. I'm doing everything that I can to focus the meeting on the needs of the children of this state," said Barresi.

"I would love to put all this behind us, simply because there are much more important issues than one contentious meeting facing education in Oklahoma," Gilpin said.

A big item on the agenda at Thursday's board meeting is a proposed three percent budget cut.

A bill that passed the state Senate this week would revamp the board's membership.

Six board members now are appointed by the governor, but under the proposal, the board would consist of the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and the superintendent.

More: Oklahoma State Superintendent, Board Member Dispute Changes To Education Board