When one looks at the Oklahoma City Council races and the untraceable funds that poured into them — and, the fact that so few voters vote in these types of races — it is easier to “stack the deck” against the larger sample of voters who vote in general elections.
School boards are controlled by an elite force of superintendents who in many cases recruit school board members to run and maintain a clear dictatorship over local school boards. In the current OKC public schools board race, according to a faithful supporter of Laura Massenat at a recent school forum at Wilson Elementary held for school board candidates, she was asked to run for Steve Shafer’s vacant seat in District 4.
One has to wonder how the other two candidates, Patrick Gaines and Crystal Hodges, would feel about a superintendent recruiting or supporting a school board candidate.
In my opinion, a superintendent should have to resign for having recruited a candidate to run in the district he serves, but small-district superintendents and CareerTech superintendents follow this faithful practice. In my opinion, the current OKCPS superintendent, who hails from a small town, is a good example of this and practices what many rural school superintendents do: “Keep a group of good ol’ boys on the board.”
With big money and power brokers wanting to maintain control of the serfs when it comes to local school boards and city councils, it is time to put the power back into the hands of the voters in general elections.
By putting the elections in November, a larger representation of voters will have say in local politics. It would help save money since local governments can piggyback on the same-day elections, reducing costs of stand-alone elections.
The normal progressive makes the argument that these elections should be off-cycle to protect the nonpartisan element. If that’s true, why do most nonpartisan offices have lopsided percentages of partisan progressive liberals in them? Maybe because these elections were set up, by them, in order to favor them.
Mean represents District 6 on the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education
Editor’s note: Superintendent Karl Springer has said he did not recruit any sole candidate for office.