NEWS FLASH: State board enhances Superintendent Janet Barresi’s powers

The Oklahoma state Board of Education has voted to increase the agency governance powers of state Superintendent of Public Instruction Barresi. 

Peter J. Rudy of Oklahoma Watchdog, in a story posted just after today’s (Monday, May 9) meeting of the state Board, reports the board voted 3-1 to extend Barresi powers envisioned in House Bill 2139. Two Barresi critics, including controversial board member Herb Rozell, were not present at today’s meeting. 

Today’s board vote has the practical effect of advancing the timetable under which Barresi assumes day-to-day control of the agency, rather than delaying implementation of the new law until this summer. 

In other news from the board meeting, Governor Mary Fallin’s first appointee to the panel, Phil Lakin, was swown in today, replacing Tim Gilpin, Barresi’s harshest critic. Gilpin’s term ended last month. 

Barresi said she will move ahead with reorganization of the agency, and is meeting with division directors. She also told Rudy she will formally put in place her chief of staff, Jennifer Carter, and communications director, Damon Gardenhire. The two have worked for Barresi throughout her tenure but were had not been formally hired due to board actions to prevent their hiring by the state.

Rudy’s full report is here.