Tahlequah Daily Press


January 27, 2014

School board races not high-profile, but they can be very important

TAHLEQUAH — Not many people would argue that the most important resource for a community is its children, and ensuring those children get a good education should be a top priority.

Then why do so few people turn out to vote in annual school board elections?

We complain about state and federal government attempts to wrest control from local hands, whether through bills to ensure students can wear logo T-shirts from lobbying groups, or Common Core standards and No Child Left Behind. Paradoxically, though, we can’t bother to safeguard that local control by showing up at the polls and picking the best people to make decisions about our schools. And when we do vote, we choose a friend or relative, or the guy who goes to Kiwanis Club meetings with us. Sometimes, we don’t have a clue who the candidates are or what they stand for.

It’s true that many school boards are stacked through the good ol’ boy system by power players who have as little chance of being successfully challenged as a 20-year civil servant does of being fired for poor performance. That could be one reason for voter apathy. And many of us are simply too busy to leave work early or delay milking the cows to cast ballots in an off-season election.

But not only should we make the time to vote, we should take the time to educate ourselves about the candidates and their qualifications and philosophies. These are the people, after all, who will hire the administrators who run our schools, and who in turn hire the teachers – who often spend more time with our kids than we do ourselves.

Three Cherokee County schools will host elections Feb. 11, and Hulbert School District voters are being asked to fill two seats. Those races many be important, but even more noteworthy is the fact that seats in the seven remaining rural school districts went unchallenged. In some cases, it may be because an incumbent is doing a standout job. In others, it may be another case of voter apathy.

An unusual situation manifested itself in the Tahlequah district, where the lone candidate, Scott Pursley, won by default after failing to draw an opponent. But eligibility issues arose, and now that seat will have to be filled through appointment or special election.

But for the record, here are how the four races have shaped up: In Hulbert, JuaNita Keener and Rachel Lynn McAlvain are vying for Seat 2, while Trent L. Bowlin and Kathy Ritchie are seeking Seat 4. In Keys, it’s a three-way race among Radean Ritchie Foreman, Julie Smith and Rick Patrick. Briggs will see another three way: Shannon Tate Robertson, Annette Long-Stinnett and Deretha Dawes.

If you’re a voters in these districts and you don’t know much about your potential board members, we may be able to help with that. In the next week, we’re going to make contact with the candidates and ask a few key questions. We can’t promise they’ll all respond, but if they don’t, that in itself will answer a big question for you.

So stay tuned – and pledge to get involved.

Text Only
  • Tourism Council and chamber should cut the proverbial cord

    They are defined by two separate purposes and operate under two distinctive sets of bylaws, but years of conflicting opinions have left lingering questions and confusion over the relationship between the decades-old Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce and the younger Tahlequah Area Tourism Council.

    July 30, 2014

  • NSU needs to be more candid when its plans go awry

    Many area residents were disappointed to learn this week that the NSU Fitness Center, and its all-important indoor lap pool, won’t open next month, as originally announced.
    This latest delay is no surprise.

    July 28, 2014

  • Higher premiums a just reward for drunken drivers

    Over the past several years, Oklahoma has slipped in many of the polls that count. This week, we learned Tulsa is No. 4 on a list of cities with high rates of fatal DUI accidents. Is anyone really surprised?

    July 25, 2014

  • Maybe it’s time to think about having another BalloonFest

    The 18th annual BalloonFest was the last one held, in 2010. In summer 2011, when the Daily Press staff hadn’t heard anything about the much-anticipated event, we started asking questions.

    July 23, 2014

  • If you see a drunken driver, take the time to call in a report

    If you see something, say something. You’ve heard the warning, and seen it imprinted on placards at airports. In the wake of 9/11, it became a national mantra, mainly aimed at spotting potential terrorist activities. But it’s good advice anytime, and for any reason, even at the local level.

    July 14, 2014

  • City officials should stop squabbling and try to work together

    It’s bad enough that the Chamber of Commerce scandal has given Tahlequah a black eye. But if the bickering among city officials doesn’t stop, the community will have a complete set of shiners for its public face.

    July 11, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    Despite pressure from some quarters, neither the Press nor anyone else who values full disclosure will be clamming up until all the facts are known, and those who are responsible meet with justice.

    July 10, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    A few board members for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce are saying they’ve heard nothing but positive things lately – about the chamber itself, and presumably, about themselves.

    July 9, 2014

  • Employer-sponsored insurance may now be a ‘hostage’ situation

    When the fallout settles from the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, many Americans might decide they’re better off with health insurance that doesn’t come from their boss.

    July 7, 2014

  • With confidence in Congress at 7 percent, time for a new slate

    Note to Congress: We don’t like you. Not at all.
    A Gallup poll released Monday, June 30 confirmed what most of us already know: the American public is disgusted with the House and Senate. The survey recorded the lowest level of confidence since Gallup began asking the question in 1991: a whopping 7 percent. That’s not a typographical error; it’s a single digit.

    July 2, 2014


Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN