October 8, 2015

CLO approves purchase of future medical examinersâ

The Commissioners of the Land voted Thursday to approve the purchase of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department building with hopes of relocating the Office of the State Medical Examiner there.

The commissioners voted 4-0 to purchase the land and building at 921 Northeast 23rd Street, along with another piece of property at 400 Northeast 50th Street, for up to $3.8 million.

Gov. Mary Fallin, who chairs the commission, called the purchase a win-win for the state. “It’s a great building. It’s going to save some money and all the money that will come in as revenue from leases at that facility will go back to public education and higher education at a time when we are facing some budget shortfalls in our state,” said Fallin.



October 8, 2015

OHCA presents FY17 agency budget request

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority Board (OHCA) was presented the agency’s budget request for FY17 at its monthly meeting.

The agency’s request for FY17 as it stands currently is $79,935,224 in state dollars and comes to a total of $104,218,337 when federal funds are included.

The brief overview of the budget request was presented to the board by Director of Fiscal Planning and Procurement Vickie Kersey, who asked the board to view the proposal as an “evolving document.”

“This should be considered a draft. It will change continuously.” Kersey said. “As we learn more information and we monitor various factors that affect the budget request we will update the board.”


October 8, 2015

Aeronautics Commission finalizes airport CIP

The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission has finalized a plan that will put $68 million into improvements across state airports.

The statewide airport Capital Improvement Program (CIP) covers Fiscal Years 2016 through 2018. Pavement work and other maintenance will take place over the next three years at two dozen Oklahoma public airports.

Funding for the CIP is derived from federal, state and local sources. The Federal Aviation Administration will provide $48 million through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The Commission will cover $11 million and the cities in which the airport resides will provide $9 million.


October 8, 2015

Funeral Board continues in budget deficit

The Oklahoma Funeral Board’s budget deficit continues to climb, with a $4,000 increase in just one month, said Executive Director Chris Ferguson at Thursday's meeting.

In Ferguson’s financial update to the board, he said the agency is currently operating in the red with negative $23,736. Last month, the deficit was about $19,000.

The OFB collected about $3,505 in fees, $3,050 in fines, with a net revenue of $6,555.  Ferguson said the agency is required to give 10 percent of the net revenue to the state, leaving the agency with $6,204. The expenses for the month totaled $29,942, leaving the agency in the red over $23,000.
The agency operates in a deficit for about 10 to 11 months out of the year said Ferguson at last month’s meeting, with January being one of the only months it is out of the red. In order to balance the budget, the agency uses monies from its revolving fund, he said.

October 8, 2015

Teacher survey shows growing frustrations

An overwhelming majority of teachers are uncomfortable with the use of student surveys and other value added measures, according to a survey by one of Oklahoma’s teacher groups shows.

The survey was conducted by Professional Oklahoma Educators, a non-union, nonpartisan organization serving more than 8,000 Oklahoma educators, as part of a request by lawmakers regarding the state’s Teacher and Leader Effectiveness evaluation system. The survey generated a high level of interest and received nearly 800 responses, according to the organization.

The survey results, which were presented to lawmakers before the House Common Education Committee Wednesday afternoon, showed teachers were overwhelmingly frustrated with the value added measures and the use of student surveys in a high-stakes manner, which were approved by the TLE Commission earlier this year.

October 7, 2015

The value added component is based on an indiv

In a room packed with Oklahoma superintendents and members of the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Commissions, educators and other presenters discussed their frustrations Wednesday with the value added component of the TLE evaluations.

The value added component is based on an individual student’s growth on assessments from one year to the next. The idea has been highly criticized by teacher groups and educators in the state as well as nationwide, often resulting in litigation.

Rep. Scooter Park, R-Devol, said he requested interim study H15-004, after hearing the same complaints from educators. The House Common Education Committee considered the study.