OKLAHOMA CITY -- Members of both the Oklahoma Senate and House Democratic Caucuses released statements regarding Governor Stitt’s latest appointment to the Oklahoma State Board of Education.
“The governor’s decision to suddenly remove Kurt Bollenbach as a member of the State Board of Education is very disappointing,” said State Sen. Carri Hicks, D-OKC. “As a member of the Senate Education Committee, I found him to be incredibly accessible and a strong ally in supporting public education. Kurt’s service to our state and his voice at the table will be greatly missed. The announcement of the new appointee has taken the education community by surprise. We urge her to clarify her views regarding the health and safety of our students during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
“It is deeply concerning that Governor Stitt chose to remove a state school board member who has publicly committed to transparency and accountability in spending,” said State Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa. “Ending the corruption, mishandling of our tax dollars, and keeping our students safe and healthy must be our top priorities. When the governor stacks the board with individuals with limited experience, working families will continue to suffer. Oklahomans deserve better than what he is delivering.”
“Governor Stitt says he can trust Oklahomans to make the right decision to wear a mask, and then appoints a woman for school board who has undermined personal responsibility in Enid by spreading disinformation about the benefits of mask wearing,” said State Sen. Mary Boren, D-Norman. “The governor was right to say divisive rhetoric should stop but he is empowering someone who has relished in it.”
“Boards are meant to advise and provide oversight to the agencies they serve,” said House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman. “The governor, while choosing to replace board members as they move away from his point of view, is not using the State Board of Education as a tool to advise or provide oversight to our education system. He is using it to undermine the authority of Oklahoma’s elected state superintendent. This is another example of what has been the governor’s biggest success since being inaugurated, which has been his ability to centralize power, and he has been aided in this power grab by Republican legislators.”