As far as the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce was concerned, Dr. David Powell, Southern Oklahoma Technology Center superintendent, was in the right place at the right time. The legislative luncheon Friday featured area superintendents and as noon struck, Ardmore Superintendent Sonny Bates was a no-show. Chamber officials managed to reach Bates who said there had been a case of larceny at Ardmore City Schools and he would be unable to attend. With Bates unable to send anyone in his place, Powell was pressed into action and the legislative luncheon proceeded with a full complement with Plainview Superintendent Karl Stricker, Dickson Superintendent Larry Case and Lone Grove Superintendent Todd Garrison in attendance.
Powell highlighted the influence manufacturing education has had in the community and briefly hit on financial concerns with Valero’s protest of its property taxes. He also discussed improvements on campus and a desire to enhance security.
Case praised his elementary teachers as they work toward fulfilling state mandates and discussed the need for a pay rate increase for teachers. A shortage of teaching candidates graduating college was a concern for all superintendents and pay rates were one of the issues attributed as the reason. Case talked about new requirements for third grade students to pass reading tests in order to move to fourth grade and praised the teachers' efforts in that regard.
Stricker talked about technology upgrades at Plainview, which have taken place in recent years and the school's inability to fill vacant teaching positions. Both Stricker and Garrison spoke about Common Core standards and the overall issues facing schools regarding the mandates. Garrison said he had nothing against Common Core overall but highlighted issues, which include aggressive requirements for younger children.
Both Garrison and Case talked about plans to improve each school's technology. Plainview, Lone Grove and Dickson benefit from a countywide sales tax which was passed in 2012. Garrison also talked about growth that has taken place at the school in recent years.
The superintendents concluded the individual presentations with a question and answer period.
The chamber will sponsor a Business After Hours at 5 p.m., May 13 at Fenton Nissan of Ardmore.