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State Board of Education holds meeting in Frederick

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FREDERICK, Okla_Tillman County got a special visit from the Oklahoma State Board of Education Thursday. The group used Frederick High School's auditorium for their weekly meeting. State Superintendent Janet Barresi led the meeting, giving educators at Frederick a glimpse of the topics they're discussing.

The meeting ran a little over an hour, but the highlight was hearing Frederick's superintendent share with the board the high school's hardship but also their success.

For the seven members of the Oklahoma Board of Education, Thursday was about getting more of a personal experience with Oklahoma schools.

"There is nothing like actually experiencing a school district, hearing about their concerns and hearing about their successes as well," Barresi said.

Frederick's superintendent said their prime concern is not having the funds to hire more teachers. Currently more than half are eligible for retirement and finding replacements hasn't been easy.

"There are not enough teachers being produced and that goes back to the availability of other higher paying jobs in the energy sector particularly here in Oklahoma," Superintendent Shannon Vanderburg said.

"That's why in our budget request this year we are determined this year it's a performance based budget but there is money in there for districts if they haven't given a raise the last two years to be able to give a pay raise but then also some flexibility models that will go out to districts to provide extra money to them to be able to attract teachers," Barresi said.

Hopefully helping educators interested in a teaching job in Oklahoma relocate to the area. Vanderburg said even understaffed, the school was able to make a big improvement. Last year, they were on the "school improvement list," A few months ago, it received a "B" grade in the state's new scoring system.

"I'm very proud of the turnaround they've had here at the high school it comes directly from the efforts of the teachers and students with the focus led by the administration here at the high school," Barresi said.

"It is an opportunity for them to be able to show the town's people and the stake holders all of the progress that's going on and everybody can look at all the sub-grades within that report card that roll up to that one grade of B and see areas where they can continue to participate," Vanderburg said.

We asked Superintendent Barresi how the recent vote that reduced the limit on annual property tax hikes will affect the education budget, she said the state board of equalization will have a meeting in December and the education board will know more about that then.

Barresi plans on having the board of education hold a meeting at different Oklahoma schools each week until the end of the school year.

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