Monday, June 15, 2015

Education Claims don't match Facts!

LIKE many Oklahomans, we believe additional funding, if prudently targeted, could make a difference in public schools. We don’t believe state funding should be increased simply to allow districts with declining enrollment to continue operating as though nothing has changed in decades, which seems to be an argument put forth recently by state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

This year state lawmakers protected K-12 funding from any cuts, despite facing a $611 million shortfall. Given the circumstances, that’s a win for schools. Yet in an interview with Oklahoma Watch, Hofmeister says the flat budget will force school closures and teacher layoffs. Her examples don’t back up that claim.

Hofmeister noted that Lawton had closed four elementary schools, and suggested this was tied to the flat state budget. But Lawton officials said the change was driven by declining enrollment in the district. During the past decade, Lawton has lost more than 1,600 elementary students.

Do Oklahoma taxpayers really need to pay more to maintain half-empty classrooms in a district that can serve those children as effectively in fewer facilities?

At Burns Flat-Dill City Public Schools, Hofmeister noted four elementary teacher positions were eliminated last month, which she blamed on the state budget. However, Department of Education data shows the district’s finances are not in free fall. In the 2008-2009 school year, Burns Flat-Dill City had an average daily membership of 666 students and per-pupil expenditures of $8,196. By the 2013-2014 school year (the most recent for which data was available), the district’s average daily membership was 663 and per-pupil spending had grown to $8,858 per child.

So over a five-year period that included a major recession, Burns Flat-Dill City’s student population declined slightly but it had sufficient funds to steadily increase per-pupil spending. How that situation translated into a supposed financial crisis warrants a more thorough explanation.

Similar questions exist regarding the overall Oklahoma school system. K-12 education funds in Oklahoma (including local, state and federal tax dollars, as well as carryover) grew from $7.1 billion in the 2008 budget year to $8.4 billion in 2014. That’s an increase of $1.3 billion. Where has that money gone?

Hofmeister doesn’t address those questions in her Oklahoma Watch interview. If anything, she implies that any problems in public schools are because Oklahoma taxes are too low. The state’s budget challenges, she said, were “a ‘self-inflicted wound’ because of tax cuts and business tax incentives that remain even as revenue for appropriations has dropped.”

The superintendent didn’t specify what taxes she would raise or tax breaks she would eliminate. Should lawmakers increase the personal income tax, which has been gradually cut from 7 percent to 5 percent (effective next January)? Does she agree with those who advocated for a dramatic increase in taxes on horizontal drilling last year (even after lawmakers doubled that rate, and despite the likelihood a larger increase would make the current downturn in Oklahoma’s energy sector much worse)? The reality is that few tax options can significantly increase education funding without imposing higher tax burdens on the broad majority of Oklahomans.

Education funding deserves serious debate and discussion. We understand that Hofmeister is zealously advocating on behalf of her agency. However, offering distorted anecdotes is no substitute for providing thoughtful answers to legitimate tax-and-spending questions.

Oklahoman Editorial Board - June 15, 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The anti-First Amendment Party!

The Democrats have been working overtime to gut the first amendment. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the presumptive Democratic front-runner for the 2016 presidential nomination, has endorsed this effort.

The Democrats have repeatedly attempted to use federal law to stifle the political speech of activist groups and independent parties, and the Supreme Court has repeatedly told them that they may not do this, most notably in the Citizens United case – a case that turned on the question of whether people showing a film critical of Hillary Rodham Clinton should be prosecuted as criminals for doing so.

The courts keep telling the Democrats that the first amendment exists primarily to protect political speech, but the Democrats seem to think that it’s about pornography, and keep trying to criminalize the act of criticizing politicians in unapproved-of ways.

That culminated last year in Harry Reid’s attempt to pass a constitutional amendment that would exempt political speech from First Amendment protections – which is to say, that would effectively repeal the First Amendment – an effort that received the support of every Democrat in the Senate. Mrs. Clinton makes it official: the Democrats are now an anti-First Amendment party.

National Review editorial – May 18. Emphasis added.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Nat'l Committeeman Steve Fair to speak....

Oklahomas National Committeeman - Steve Fair of Duncan - will be the featured speaker when the Comanche County Republicans meet for their February meeting.

Just returned from the RNC meeting in San Deigo, Fair will give a report on that meeting and relay real inside information from the RNC.

Fair is also the Chairman of the upcoming Southern Leadership Conference to be held in OKCity May 21-23. He will be giving an over view of what attendees can expect. It will be one of the largest gatherings of GOP Presidential hopefuls in the Nation. It is expected that FOX News will be covering the conference as well as other news media.

Februarys CCRP meeting is at 6:30pm, Tuesday February 10, auditorium (bldg 100), Great Plains Tech School, Lawton. You don't want to miss this meeting. Be there and bring a friend to welcome Steve Fair to Comanche County. Your participation and interest are vital to the success of our party!

Friday, January 16, 2015

New Year ~ Work Begins......

As the New Year got off to a jump start, so did local and statewide Republicans.

On January 13 Comanche County Republicans hosted their precinct meetings and County convention - with good weather and a good crowd. At the convention, new officers were elected to lead the party the next couple of years. County Chairman Ed Petersen sought another term and was re-elected without opposition. Those officers are shown to the right of this page.

Those in attendance had opportunity to sign up as delegates for the State Convention which will be April 11 in OKC. Delegates to the State Convention will elect a State Chairman. In the running for State Chairman are Dave Weston - seeking re-election to the post; former Senator Randy Brogdan; Pam Pollard, current State V-Chair.

The county meetings will continue to be at 6:30pm on the second Tuesday of the month unless otherwise noted and in the Auditorium of the Great Plains Tech School, bldg 100. All are encouraged to become involved with their County Party!

In addition, the Great Plains Republican Women also met and elected new officers to lead them this next year. Carrie Tubbs took the gavel as new President. The womens group has grown substantially the past few years and we would encourage all you ladies - local and area - to become a member of this growing and dynamic group. They meet at 11:30am the third Thursday of the month in the Prairie Bldg at the Comanche County fairgrounds. They have a lunch which is 'dutch treat'.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

GOP Work Day and Opening Set.

The CCRP hopes you have made plans to helpTHIS SATURDAY - August 16 - 10:00am - set up and organize the campaign office. The office is located at 1907 W. Gore in Lawton.

We plan to open the office on Monday August 18 and it will be open daily through November 4 (except Sundays). You will also be able to sign up to work a shift at the office. Some have already volunteered! Thank you!

Hours at this time are 10:00am - 2:00pm; close; re-open at 5:00pm - 7:00pm daily; 10:00am - 2:00pm on Saturdays; closed Sundays. Volunteers are needed to keep the office open.

Items needed at the office....IF you are able to help supply these items, it would be greatly appreciated. We need a small refrigerator. Also, loan of a small micro-wave oven. Coffee pot. All in working order please, and these items will need to be removed November 5.

Then we need: paper towels; toilet paper; glass cleaner; a broom, a mop, tape, scissors, pencils, pens, bring any snack as you would like. We hope to stock some drinks when we get a fridge and oh, of course, you may bring your own. May be more needs as we begin setting up. We appreciate Tom & Shirley Stricklan for providing tables and chairs.

CANDIDATES: You may bring campaign signs, literature, etc. to the office for distribution.

Please come help and SIGN-UP to man the office. C U at 10:00am, Saturday - 1907 W. Gore.

Monday, August 4, 2014

CCRP Campaign Office to Open ~ August 18.

Comanche County Republicans will be opening a Campaign Office for the 2014 election cycle on Monday August 18. The office will be located at 1907 W. Gore in Lawton and be open daily - except Sunday - through November 4. A 'Grand Opening' will be held at a later date.

The office will have information on registering and voting; candidate signs and literature; information on the Judges and other ballot issues; sample ballots; information on polling places. This will help voters become informed on candidates and ballot issues before heading to the polls for the run-off August 26 and the General Election November 4.

Volunteers are needed to man the office. Please contact CCRP Chairman Ed Petersen at (580) 355-7100.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Primary Over - Runoff Next!

The voters have spoken. Not nearly as good a turn-out as there should be for something this important. Amazing that so few care who is elected to office when their lives are affected on a daily basis by those elected as they are the ones who draft and pass laws, statutes, etc., governing every aspect of our lives! In the recent Primary, some 20% spoke for us all. People should be lined up miles long to make their preference known. Why aren't they?

Several races were won out right with no further contest and some will be made final at the General Election November 4. Meanwhile, a few will be in a run-off set for August 26. Run-offs usually have dismal voter turn-out at best. Looking at the Primary turn-out we can only imagine how bad this could be!!

It is hoped that voters WILL continue to support the candidates who have stepped forward to seek office. It takes a lot of time, money, and dedication to run for office. MARK your calendar and VOTE August 26. Your County Election Board can tell you who in your area has a run-off. The candidates need and deserve YOUR support.

"Apathy breeds corruption and incompetence, does it not?" O'Reilly - FOX News.

Run-off: August 26.

General Election: November 4.