Board of Education Changes Proposed

Oklahoma City, OK – Legislators look to strip power from education board

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Friction surrounding oversight of the state education system is surfacing in the Legislature.

House and Senate Republican leaders say they will introduce a bill Monday aimed at taking power away from the state Board of Education.

House Speaker Kris Steele and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman said Friday the bill would transfer authority to run the Department of Education from the board to the state superintendent of public instruction.

The bill follows a contentious meeting last week between the board and new Republican Superintendent Janet Barresi in which the board refused to approve several of Barresi's staff recommendations. The board is composed entirely of appointments by former Democratic Gov. Brad Henry.

Steele says the board has "established a pattern of behavior" that led to his support of the reform measure, which will be considered Monday morning by the Senate Education Committee.