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Author Topic: The Oklahoma Republican Party is made up of Scumbags  (Read 3225 times)
Conan71
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« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2016, 08:52:13 am »

The education cuts are very alarming. Something drastic needs to change in Oklahoma City.

It’s not just education as CF alluded to.  Why would anyone want to move to a low tax utopia which will resemble Mexico in 20 years?

Quote
Parks and tourism has seen a 50% reduction in budget since 2009 (keep in mind, Oklahoma was booming during that period).

The arts budget has been slashed.

Per Pupil spending on education is down in the same period.

Our infrastructure grade is still "deficient."

And our solution was to cut taxes on anyone making above average, propose raising taxes on everyone (more sales tax), and take away subsidies for poor people.

What this says is that our current leadership feels the problems facing our state is too much spending on public infrastructure, too much spending on quality of life, the wealthiest people need more help from government, the poorest people need to pay more in taxes, and that our education system is over funded. If that isn't delusional, I don't know what is.
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cannon_fodder
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« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2016, 09:48:48 am »

Simple argument:

What areas of the country are drawing in residents, seeing economic growth and innovation, have the highest incomes and standards of living?

If our representatives were right, it would be Kansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and West Virginia.  Cutting taxes, cutting education, cutting workers comp, cutting environmental regulations, fighting socialized medicine, and fighting for laws to enforce socially conservative values. And they have been doing it for decades, with the last 10-15 years really a boom time for that ideology.

Where are the people and companies fleeing the areas we are trying to differentiate ourselves from?  Where are the people and companies from Oregon, Seattle, the Bay Area, Minneapolis, the eastern range of Colorado, Chicago, Connecticut or New York? Certainly people don't continue to move there, start companies there, or grow companies there because they are conservative, low tax, low regulation, cheap labor destinations?

Oklahoma is a commodity economy. Just like Nigeria or Venezuela. Take away our oil and we will collapse in short order - remove Williams, OneOK, H&P, Devon, Chesapeake, Unit Corp, Holly, etc. Remove the myriad of manufacturers who depend on the needs of the oil patch. Remove the trucking jobs, the pipeline welders, and all the service jobs that support those people. 100 years on and we still depend on the oil patch - we don't need no education. We don't need no quality of life.

As long as we have oil, people have to live here. So who cares about improving anything?

The areas that truly prosper have seen their "commodity" dry up. Chicago's boom time as a railroad crossing isn't its economic identity anymore. The eastern range grew basically from settlers giving up on heading west. New York hasn't been a port town for several generations. The Bay area's gold ran out 150 years ago. They rely on their people for their wealth. Education. Innovation. And diversification.

As long as we depend on and cater exclusively to the oil patch... we will remain a commodity economy. That's not a knock on the oil patch, God knows we need those jobs and many of the companies I listed are top notch companies. But we need more, and relying on call centers and warehouse jobs isn't what I mean. Only an educated population with proper infrastructure and government services can build what we want.
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AquaMan
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« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2016, 11:31:54 am »

Why do you keep expecting more from this group of legislators and leaders when they so closely follow the demographic makeup of their constituents?

Chicago didn't kill the railroads to change their politics, they died off and the economics changed them. Michigan is changing because of economics. Education is not going to change Oklahoma either unless its on a massive scale. Make note that when we do educate them they leave for the eastern range or the coasts.

Yet, we continue to whine about the politicians doing what they are elected to do, which is to reflect our religious, moral, conservative values.

To me Oklahoma must change its attitude from admiring people who agree to execute the populace wishes even when they are in error and play up those who actually lead in spite of disapproval. That may have to come from corporations who move here for our "commodities" and bring their enlightened leadership with them. Those leaders then migrate into the state's political arena with bonafides and make change.

At least that's what worked in the past Oklahoma, and specifically Tulsa, when we had major oil companies locate here from non commodity states.
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AquaMan
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« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2016, 10:51:34 am »

This isn't cutting "paper shufflers in OKC" anymore, these cut are going to be real and very deep. Call you representatives.

Tulsa Public Schools considers four-day school week, eliminating buses to meet next year's budget cuts

Tulsa Public Schools considers four-day school week, eliminating buses to meet next year's budget cuts - Tulsa World: Education

I don't think legislators in OK give a flip about proper funding of public schools. We need to work around them in the short term. With that in mind I want to propose a solution to part of the funding that may provide some synergy to our city and state. Please don't dismiss it with a few short snappy retorts like the legislators do. Give it some thoughtful consideration.

The one part of TPS I know something about is the bus system. It struggles to maintain its purpose with less than adequate funding, just like the rest of TPS. It also suffers from the same level of mediocre management the rest of the system labors under. However, no amount of top level management can make up for the fact they are both underfunded and over criticized.

Consider eliminating all or most of the yellow bus system and replace it with city metro service from MTTA.

This frees up budgeting to allow history, athletics, music and arts to continue which is infinitely more important than a "free" ride to school. This is not unprecedented. I attended public schools in Tulsa during the 1950's and 1960's when Tulsa experienced growth in suburbs and downtown. We didn't have school buses. Never saw one at Kendal, Wilson, Central or the other outlying schools. We either walked to school, rode with our parents or ....took the city bus. I walked a mile to Kendal, rode my bike to Wilson and walked a couple blocks to catch the 6th street bus to Central.

I know, times have changed. We didn't have special needs classes (we mainstreamed a lot of what we call special needs today, the rest we committed to facilities like Hissom or juvenile detention). We had a majority of stay at home moms and single income families. The suburbs hadn't really exploded yet. We were content to accept separate but equal, so busing was delayed here. We only had two expressways, I-44 and the BA expwy. So, yes times have changed.

But times are changing again. The trend now is towards inner city, heavier density, private schools, charter schools and religious schools. Even suburbs tend to be self sufficient as in Stone Bluff in Owasso. That argues for more public transportation, and private school buses. At some point I believe the pendulum will swing back to neighborhood schools with less need for yellow bus transportation. As we press to increase public transportation of all kinds the funding for yellow buses can be transferred.

MTTA is a better employer for the dislocated TPS drivers and staff, since it doesn't carry the stigma of public school waste the legislators hate so much. And, their funding is more secure. The IBC bus manufacturer in east Tulsa (who strangely does not provide to the local system) can easily retool for more public trans buses or change their strategies. They will adjust, or not. The Lift, also managed by MTTA,  is well qualified and suited for real disability students and can easily meet that need. Federal funding is available for each special needs passenger. Many special needs classified students are merely behavioral, low performing or mild autism who can and should be riding with their peers on regular buses.

So, the bottom line is we have less duplication of efforts, more routes serving more people who then become adjusted at an early age to public transportation, more budget for education's main mission and less dependence on state malevolence toward them.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 01:05:44 pm by AquaMan » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2016, 03:20:32 pm »

I don't think legislators in OK give a flip about proper funding of public schools. We need to work around them in the short term. With that in mind I want to propose a solution to part of the funding that may provide some synergy to our city and state. Please don't dismiss it with a few short snappy retorts like the legislators do. Give it some thoughtful consideration.

The one part of TPS I know something about is the bus system. It struggles to maintain its purpose with less than adequate funding, just like the rest of TPS. It also suffers from the same level of mediocre management the rest of the system labors under. However, no amount of top level management can make up for the fact they are both underfunded and over criticized.

Consider eliminating all or most of the yellow bus system and replace it with city metro service from MTTA.

This frees up budgeting to allow history, athletics, music and arts to continue which is infinitely more important than a "free" ride to school. This is not unprecedented. I attended public schools in Tulsa during the 1950's and 1960's when Tulsa experienced growth in suburbs and downtown. We didn't have school buses. Never saw one at Kendal, Wilson, Central or the other outlying schools. We either walked to school, rode with our parents or ....took the city bus. I walked a mile to Kendal, rode my bike to Wilson and walked a couple blocks to catch the 6th street bus to Central.

I know, times have changed. We didn't have special needs classes (we mainstreamed a lot of what we call special needs today, the rest we committed to facilities like Hissom or juvenile detention). We had a majority of stay at home moms and single income families. The suburbs hadn't really exploded yet. We were content to accept separate but equal, so busing was delayed here. We only had two expressways, I-44 and the BA expwy. So, yes times have changed.

But times are changing again. The trend now is towards inner city, heavier density, private schools, charter schools and religious schools. Even suburbs tend to be self sufficient as in Stone Bluff in Owasso. That argues for more public transportation, and private school buses. At some point I believe the pendulum will swing back to neighborhood schools with less need for yellow bus transportation. As we press to increase public transportation of all kinds the funding for yellow buses can be transferred.

MTTA is a better employer for the dislocated TPS drivers and staff, since it doesn't carry the stigma of public school waste the legislators hate so much. And, their funding is more secure. The IBC bus manufacturer in east Tulsa (who strangely does not provide to the local system) can easily retool for more public trans buses or change their strategies. They will adjust, or not. The Lift, also managed by MTTA,  is well qualified and suited for real disability students and can easily meet that need. Federal funding is available for each special needs passenger. Many special needs classified students are merely behavioral, low performing or mild autism who can and should be riding with their peers on regular buses.

So, the bottom line is we have less duplication of efforts, more routes serving more people who then become adjusted at an early age to public transportation, more budget for education's main mission and less dependence on state malevolence toward them.

I think it's definitely an idea to consider.  I imagine in other places in the world they don't have dedicated school busses but the kids use transit or walk/bike to school.  Where I lived in London every morning you would see the kids and their parents walking to school.  The parents dropped the kids off at school and then took transit to work in the city.  The schools would often be within walking of transit and where people lived/shopped.  Too bad our city doesn't plan this stuff out like that. 
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Conan71
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« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2016, 10:26:07 pm »

Aqua, you and I had similar ways of getting to school and I really don’t remember TPS having much of a bus system prior to 1980 or so.  I’ve shared on here before that I used MTTA to get around quite a bit as a latch key kid.  I think you make great points.  When we moved to 81st & Yale and started going to Jenks, yellow buses made sense because MTTA did not serve that area of the city and Jenks was the school district for south Tulsa from roughly 65th from Yale to Lewis and on south.  Their main campus was still at 1st & B streets in Jenks.  For that matter, their entire system was still at that plot of land in 1977 when we started there.

In other words, having their own bus system made great sense. 

Probably with a few exceptions, all of TPS’s campuses are served by Tulsa Transit and might be a way that Tulsa Transit could become more relevant and perhaps gain some additional funding by TPS dropping its own bus service.

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AquaMan
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« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2016, 08:10:33 am »

Its not an inconsequential amount of savings in their budget. There are some 300 buses at an average purchase price exceeding $75,000 used to $150,000 new plus drivers, staff, maintenance, administrative overhead, and 4 bus depot sites. They even recently purchased high end VanHool coach buses to accommodate out of state activity runs (they are way underutilized) while the majority of their regular/special needs fleet is aged, decrepit and in need of replacement. Can't even find parts for them.

My next step is to find someone on the board to listen to me. Listening is the most important, yet rarest, skill these days.
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Conan71
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« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2016, 09:34:59 am »

My next step is to find someone on the board to listen to me. Listening is the most important, yet rarest, skill these days.


Sounds like Dr. Gist is already willing to consider sacrificing that system. 

Guido mentioned something about getting rid of bus service in public schools some time back and he was basically called an insensitive dick.  I do believe the genesis of TPS starting to rely on bus service was when the administration finally was willing to admit how much worse the schools were in poorer parts of the TPS system.  Rather than put more effort into making those schools much better within their own community, they started integrating north side kids into south side schools. 

When I was growing up, elementary schools were within walking or bicycling distance or a very short drive on crappy weather days, and for the most part, still are.  I have to question the wisdom of TPS continuing to bus kids 10-15 miles for high school students.

There’s no need for school systems to own over the road coaches for out of town events.  That’s nothing more than a vanity contest amongst school administrators.  If the athletes need a cushy ride out of state, Kincaid has a whole fleet they can rent, including the driver.
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« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2016, 12:16:50 pm »

Sounds like Dr. Gist is already willing to consider sacrificing that system. 

Guido mentioned something about getting rid of bus service in public schools some time back and he was basically called an insensitive dick.  I do believe the genesis of TPS starting to rely on bus service was when the administration finally was willing to admit how much worse the schools were in poorer parts of the TPS system.  Rather than put more effort into making those schools much better within their own community, they started integrating north side kids into south side schools. 

When I was growing up, elementary schools were within walking or bicycling distance or a very short drive on crappy weather days, and for the most part, still are.  I have to question the wisdom of TPS continuing to bus kids 10-15 miles for high school students.

There’s no need for school systems to own over the road coaches for out of town events.  That’s nothing more than a vanity contest amongst school administrators.  If the athletes need a cushy ride out of state, Kincaid has a whole fleet they can rent, including the driver.

Owning the bus is cheaper to schools than renting it. Due to our methods of school funding districts can get the capital funds they need locally, it's the operating costs that come from state funding and schools are prohibited from raising more operating funds locally.
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AquaMan
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« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2016, 01:23:22 pm »

There was no good reason to heavily invest in Van Hool coaches when the rest of the regular fleet is old and older. Maintenance is a real struggle anyway but the yellow fleet is a real drain. Good condition activity buses are easily found in the $25K range. These monsters were reconditioned and ran $75-150K. To take football teams to OKC? Administrative staff to out of state training? No, they intend to, and do compete in the open market against private operators with public monies. Not cool.

Lease vs own is complicated for a school system I'm sure. If you don't include the real costs of administration, self insurance, maintenance, site expense, recruiting/hiring/firing of labor etc. its easier. The school system doesn't get to deduct those expenses or take depreciation either. The TPS buses are sold as scrap for pennies on the dollar even though many are still usable in the private sector. Oh, well, what taxpayers don't know won't hurt them. Then factor in they are a 9-10 month asset use while your overhead is 12 months. In Lousiana it is common for independents to take on all those expenses and liabilities. The school system sets standards and the operators bid on the routes.

When a system is well funded, our model works. When your legislators are intent on replacing a public system with vouchers and private schools, it gets messy.

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Conan71
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« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2016, 06:28:03 pm »

Owning the bus is cheaper to schools than renting it. Due to our methods of school funding districts can get the capital funds they need locally, it's the operating costs that come from state funding and schools are prohibited from raising more operating funds locally.

That depends on utilization.  If you run the bus several times a week up to daily, that would be correct.  If the activity buses are used a few times a month, there is simply no way owning is cheaper than leasing on an as-needed basis.
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« Reply #26 on: February 29, 2016, 12:47:59 pm »

Aqua, you and I had similar ways of getting to school and I really don’t remember TPS having much of a bus system prior to 1980 or so.  I’ve shared on here before that I used MTTA to get around quite a bit as a latch key kid.  I think you make great points.  When we moved to 81st & Yale and started going to Jenks, yellow buses made sense because MTTA did not serve that area of the city and Jenks was the school district for south Tulsa from roughly 65th from Yale to Lewis and on south.  




Mid 60's the TPS bus system was well developed.  Had to live more than about a mile from school to get a ride, so I never did.  Drove my car, too.  Couple of girl friends at East Central rode every day at 3:41 pm.  It was touch and go whether we could get there from Hale before they got on the bus.  Most times we made it...


The story I tell the kids about how rough it was when I went to school is that, "I had to drive a half mile every day, rain or shine, uphill both ways..."


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« Reply #27 on: March 02, 2016, 12:33:29 pm »

And the bill to drop Medicaid for over 100k Oklahomans passes the house.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/capitol_report/oklahoma-house-passes-bill-cutting-from-medicaid/article_e2bb35ee-f174-5c27-a0c9-5e9021164c8e.html


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patric
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« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2016, 01:30:16 pm »


Obviously, others were more deserving of the money.
</s>




OKLAHOMA CITY — Last year, a pair of out-of-state private prison companies received a record $92.7 million from the state Corrections Department for housing Oklahoma inmates, a necessary expense to deal with the state’s persistent overcrowding problem, agency officials say.

Since 2004, the state has spent roughly $975 million on contracts with the two for-profit corrections enterprises operating in Oklahoma, based in Florida and Tennessee.


http://www.tulsaworld.com/private-prison-spending/pdf_9a942a1e-926c-5e98-8cfe-ed2d66e0bd60.html
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« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2016, 09:18:18 am »

“When you wage war on the public schools, you're attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You're not a conservative, you're a vandal.”
--Garrison Keillor
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“When you wage war on the public schools, you're attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You're not a conservative, you're a vandal.”    - Garrison Keillor

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

What you do speaks so loud, I cannot hear what you say.
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