Oklahoma Watch
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
First Watch

Following the Federal Relief Money Flowing Into Oklahoma Schools

With more than $2 billion in federal pandemic relief funds flowing into state school districts, Oklahoma Watch investigative reporter Jennifer Palmer wanted to give readers an idea of how they will be spent. So she convened a virtual roundtable with four education leaders representing a cross-section of the state and its schools.

You can eavesdrop on their conversation here. You can also follow the money into the district-by-district database Jennifer built here.

There’s still much to be decided on the best way to spend these funds, and Jennifer brought one other interesting perspective to the topic. Check out what the president of the National Parents Union had to say about the unique and potentially transformational opportunity the funds present.

Mike Sherman, Executive Editor

In Focus

How Four Oklahoma School Leaders View Federal Relief Funds

Oklahoma Watch spoke with four school district leaders about the challenges COVID-19 presented and how they’re investing the federal relief funds. [Read more…]

The Latest

Prisoner’s Mother: ‘You Never Know When It Could Be Your Family Member’

In a new Oklahoma Watch feature “A Mile In Someone Else’s Shoes,” an initiative to give voice to the voiceless, Emily Barnes describes fighting for justice reform and what it’s like having a family member incarcerated. [Read more…]

How Federal Pandemic Relief Funds Were Allocated To Oklahoma Schools

Here’s a database of federal emergency relief funds allocated to Oklahoma school districts. [Read more …]

Sen. Inhofe Wants to Give Police $7.5 million For Mental Health Training

Oklahoma Republican Senator Jim Inhofe says law enforcement lacks proper training to answer mental health calls, and proposes a remedy [Read more…]

Breaking Down A State Budget Featuring Personal And Corporate Income Tax Cuts

The $8.3 billion spending plan avoids any cuts to the state budget, slashes taxes for low and high earners and puts hundreds of millions back into the state’s rainy day account. [Read more…]

Oklahoma Watch Sues Epic Charter Schools Seeking Public Records

The lawsuit requests the release of Epic co-founder Ben Harris’ emails under the Oklahoma Open Records Act. [Read more…]

Around the web

  • Extra federal unemployment benefits scheduled to expire in September will end in July for Oklahomans, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Monday. Instead, Oklahoma will pay $1,200 to qualified previously unemployed individuals who get and hold new jobs for six weeks. Read more about the qualifications here. [The Oklahoman]
  • A Tulsa attorney is representing the owner of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, whose victory and $2 million purse are jeopardized by a positive drug test following the race. Attorney Clark Brewster said the banned substance came from a salve applied to Medina Spirit’s skin rash and the colt may have licked the bandage. [Tulsa World]
  • Joe Allbaugh helped manage George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign, ran the Federal Emergency Management Agency and served as director of the Oklahoma State Department of Corrections. Now he’ll try to help fix one of the nation’s deadliest jails as the newest member of the Oklahoma County jail trust. Allbaugh replaces Tricia Everest, who resigned to become Stitt’s new secretary of public safety. In other moves Monday, the trust for a jail where six prisoners died in the first seven weeks of 2021 named a new chairman and voted to limit public comment. [Fox25]

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