Tahlequah Daily Press


August 15, 2013

Need a job? The Regents are paying

NEW YORK — As of today – Wednesday, Aug. 14 – Tahlequah Public Schools students will be back in class. Many of their peers in the rural areas were already hitting the books.

Another group of people started class even earlier, though that fact is seldom acknowledged by anyone outside their own families, and perhaps the rare politician who thinks currying favor with that group might prove advantageous. We’re speaking of teachers – those special people who have devoted their lives to the future of our most precious resource: our children.

Even as late as the 1990s, teaching was viewed as a noble profession, and that’s as it should be. Few jobs are as important.

But paradoxically, the amount of money teachers bring home on their paychecks, compared to their responsibilities and the degree of higher education required, is among the lowest of any profession.

Teachers used to enjoy a good measure of job security, but that’s no longer the case. Many districts have been forced to lay off teachers in the wake of state budget cuts. And some of Oklahoma’s best and brightest in the education field have been heading for greener pastures – or at least higher salaries – in neighboring states.

After yesterday, we’re thinking some public school teachers – and university professors, too – should consider jumping ship and going to work for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, whose 268 lucky employees just scored a 5 percent pay hike.

Regent John Massey said the “cost-of-living adjustments” were funded through “internal cost efficiencies,” and pointed out the last “compensation adjustment” for the staff occurred in the 2009 budget. No doubt other state employees who have gone longer would like the same consideration.

Amanda Paliotta, vice chancellor of finance, defended the action by saying the agency has trouble keeping employees. But now that word has leaked out about the raises, there may be a line of qualified applicants around the building.

We’re not saying the regents’ staff doesn’t deserve pay increases; far from it. But other state employees – including educators themselves – have been bypassed over the years, and this doesn’t seem fair.

This seemingly lopsided way of doing business can be largely blamed on the fact that higher education institutions don’t necessarily fall under the same policy umbrella as other state employees.

The regents’ employees aren’t covered by the study ordered by Gov. Mary Fallin to compare private and public sector salaries in other states to those in Oklahoma. Fallin is holding off on raises for other state workers until that study is complete.

When will that happen? We don’t know. All we know for sure is that a statewide pay hike for employees hasn’t occurred since 2006, though some targeted raises have been awarded. Many of these likely occurred for top-tiered administrators, if circumstances hold true to form in this state.

Whatever the case, we hope the best of the best in the state’s employee pool will soon be rewarded for their diligence. Even the most avid anti-government individual has to acknowledge that these people, too, are part of our economic system – and if they don’t have money to spend, the rest of us suffer.

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  • Community cleanups a good way to ensure our collective success

    This is our community – and it’s no better than what we make it. Let’s make it look great.

    April 16, 2014

  • Attack at school in Pennsylvania: Mental illness root of problem

    Washington’s crusade against guns was dealt a severe blow on Wednesday. No, it wasn’t the Supreme Court curtailment of the Second Amendment right of all Americans to own firearms. It wasn’t an executive order handed down by the administration. It was the brutal assault by a high school student in Pennsylvania against his fellow students – with a knife.

    April 14, 2014

  • People with faulty zippers should be booted from office

    We may forgive, but we shouldn’t forget, because there’s serious work to do in Washington. That work will never be accomplished as long as flawed zippers - literally or figurately – are a pervasive problem.

    April 11, 2014

  • Do your part to fight animal and child abuse

    It’s hard to change the habits of an abuser, especially when mitigating factors – such as alcohol or drugs – are involved. And these patterns tend to repeat themselves in successive generations. But all of us can take one small step to help eradicate this epidemic, and that is to report it when we see it.

    April 9, 2014

  • NSA head lies to Congress, and seems to get away with it

    Is there an obvious pattern of criminality within these governmental agencies? If so, why isn’t the Judicial Department investigating?

    April 7, 2014

  • Pass for rich kiddie rapist proves that justice isn’t blind

    Someone in Wilmington, Del., needs to keep an eye on Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden for the next few months, because she might improve her standard of living due to a sudden influx of cash.
    There’s no other way to explain why Jurden would have sentenced an ultra-wealthy heir to the du Pont fortune to probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter. It’s an outrageous miscarriage of justice that once again proves when it comes to the U.S. justice system, the elite get a pass almost every time.

    April 4, 2014

  • Maybe it’s not $3.2B, but state should still account for tribal cash

    In an editorial published last week, the Daily Press said that through tribal compacts, the state of Oklahoma received about $3.2 billion in annual revenue, partly attributable to the 117 casinos (or 118, in some reports) run by 33 tribes in the state. The information we accessed for that piece was confusing, and had a typo or two, which may have led us to overstate – to a considerable degree – how much money the tribes actually give the state.

    April 2, 2014

  • Tribal compacts should mean state has money to perform its functions

    Oklahoma should be rolling in the dough. The statistics bear that out. Thirty-three American Indian tribes operate 117 casinos in this state. Thanks to “compacts,” these tribes have been sharing the wealth with the state of Oklahoma. And thanks to the casinos, that wealth is substantial.

    March 28, 2014

  • It’s time to turn in your candidate announcements

    If you are running for a political office for which Cherokee County voters can cast ballots, it’s time to turn in your announcement. We’ve already run a few, and expect several more. The primary elections are Tuesday, June 24, with the registration period to vote in this election closing Thursday, May 30.

    March 24, 2014

  • Mom responsible for watching kid; restaurant’s not

    If you allowed your child to drink a bottle of drain cleaner, would you feign surprise when he fell to the floor, twitching and foaming at the mouth? If you left your curling iron within reach of your baby and she pulled it off the vanity and burned her hand, would you plan revenge on the store that sold you the appliance?
    You just might, if you’re among the litigious Americans who have abdicated parental responsibility to either sloth or the hope of a better tomorrow through a cash settlement.

    March 19, 2014


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
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