Tulsa School Board Elections : A Call to Arms

February 8th 2011 marked the day when the representatives for School Board District 1 were up for election. This year, as in past years there were only two candidates. Both of whom are Democrat. Gary Percefull, the incumbent, has been on the school board more often than not over the last decade and a half. His competition, Brenda Barre is a retired teacher from Booker T. Washington and currently in real estate.

Having an undisputed School Board seat is nothing new. Having a seat only held by one party for extended periods of time, in Oklahoma especially, is nothing new either. Which is what begs the question, why aren’t conservatives interested in School Board positions?

Over the past decade many headlines have graced the media across the nation focusing on school boards gone wild. Just recently the Tulsa School Board had been fighting with the state over the rights of special needs children to attend private schools on voucher from the public school system. In November of last year King5.com a Seattle based news organization reported parents outraged about the book “A Brave New World” which has racy scenes of sex, and mind control drugs; being deemed a standard book for Language Arts classes. Also, not to be forgotten was the California public middle schools in 2002 requiring students of certain courses to wear Muslim robes, and take on Islamic names; which never got a peep of “separation of church and state” until Christian parents spoke up.

Where was the GOP in all of this? I spoke with the Tulsa Republican Party Vice Chair JB Alexander about the lack of representation of conservatives on the Tulsa School Board. Mr. Alexander said that the national GOP party has never been very interested in promoting school board elections and as a consequence the electorate does not seem interested either. When asked what the local GOP office has done to change this trend, JB said that they had been working to make the local groups aware of the issue as best as they could. Recently the GOP has focused in Tulsa on the clubs and organizations in the area around Tulsa-Tech, adding as many as five new clubs in the last quarter. The GOP office of course has no employees, and is volunteer only, so their effectiveness completely depends on the members to get out and volunteer to run for the positions.

I also spoke with the Oklahoma State Republican Party Chair Matt Pernell.
Mr. Pernell like Mr. Alexander said that the trend in the past has been to only alert people of upcoming vacancies, but to focus mostly on state seats or national seats. When pressed, Mr. Pernell admitted that the GOP has not done as aggressive a job as they could have before. However, last year that trend did begin to change. In fact, the state and local GOP were able to assist Republican Dr. Lois Jacobs into the District 7 seat. Mr. Pernell said that the trend to let the school board districts fend for themselves is changing and will be getting more focus as the locals get more involved and aware of the issues.

Looking over several chat rooms, blogs, posts, and comments on the school board races, there seems to be on major set back to conservatives getting involved. Many races are like Tulsa’s, which is to say, they are non-partisan. This means that the elected officials’ party-affiliation is not mentioned, ever. On the surface, this seems to be the best way not to politicize the race.

However, all it serves to do is to muddy the waters between those who have an agenda contrary to the majority of Americans, and radical operatives who wish to change or alter the status quo to meet their own agenda. Removing the R or D beside the name does not change the individual and only hinders the voters from knowing the intent of the board member. One glaring example would be Dr. Lana Turner-Addison, Democrat. In many stories here on Tulsa Today and on the Eddie Huff Show from AM 1170 KFAQ; Dr. Addison has shown she has an agenda; and agenda that may or may not be agreeable to those who voted for her. Another example would be Anna America, who served Mayor Kathy Taylor as a staffer. Either of which may or may not be known by their constituents.

In the end, if the average voter wants to have an effect on the school board, and protect the history that many of us grew up being taught and the traditions that made our country great; they will have to be self-aware and involved. Do not expect the GOP to be running ads, or friends of whoever or the committee to whatever. While it is too late to register to run for District 1, keep in mind that nearly every year a seat in Tulsa comes open. It is fairly obvious to guess that the left has targeted schools and institutions of learning for some time. Now it is time to balance the scale and to get involved.

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