OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 12, 2017) – The number of students enrolled in Oklahoma public schools continued to rise in 2017, increasing by more than 1,000 from the previous year.
A total of 694,816 students were enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade at the start of the school year, an increase of 1,106 over the 2016 total of 693,710 and 21,626 more than in 2012.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister emphasized that the state should be prepared to continue serving a growing student population each year.
“Once again, Oklahoma schools are educating more students than ever before with few new resources,” Hofmeister said. “Funding has not kept pace with the steady rise in enrollment over the past decade, the growing diversity of Oklahoma’s student population or the decrease of trained educators entering the profession. We will continue to advocate for teacher pay raises and adequate funding levels to meet the needs of all Oklahoma schoolchildren.”
Districts record enrollment every year on Oct. 1 and report the figures to the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). Currently, Oklahoma has 512 traditional public school districts, 1,795 total school sites, 28 charter school districts and 58 charter school sites.
The list of the 10 largest districts is identical to last year’s, although some changed position within the ranking. This year’s 10 largest districts are:
Oklahoma City Public Schools: 45,034 studentsTulsa Public Schools: 39,596Edmond Public Schools: 24,892Moore Public Schools: 24,687Putnam City Public Schools: 19,515Broken Arrow Public Schools: 19,081Norman Public Schools: 16,103Union Public Schools: 15,847Mid-Del Public Schools: 14,334Lawton Public Schools: 14,068
Among those districts, Edmond had the greatest year-to-year growth, increasing 2 percent over 2016, followed by Moore with an increase of 1.36 percent and Norman, which jumped 1.01 percent. Putnam City, Mid-Del and Broken Arrow grew less than 1 percent. Enrollment decreased 4.6 percent in Lawton, 2.13 percent in Tulsa, 1.58 percent in Oklahoma City and less than 1 percent in Union.
Statewide, student population percentages shifted slightly this year. Most significantly, the percentage of white students dipped below 50 percent for the second year in a row to 48.85 percent compared to 49.36 percent in 2016. The number of Native American students decreased again this year, while the percentage of Hispanic students and students of two or more ethnicities continued to increase. This school year, Oklahoma’s student population is*:
48.85 percent white17.23 percent Hispanic13.59 percent Native American or Alaskan Native9.33 percent two or more races8.61 percent black2.39 percent Asian, Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
*Numbers are rounded.
By Wesley Coburn
While the final result wasn’t what the Beggs Demons hoped for, at the end of the 2017 season, they still made it to the Class 3A championship game.
In that game Friday night they fell to the Oklahoma City John Marshall Bears by a 14-7 score. But that doesn’t take away from the Demons’ 13-2 record, or 6-0 record in district play.
Played at Stillwater High School’s Pioneer Stadium, the battle featured the small-town well-oiled machine of the Demons against the Division I superstar talent of the big-city Bears, led by their University of Nevada-bound tailback Devonte Lee.
Beggs received the opening kickoff and were forced to punt, which set up a long Marshall drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown by Lee with 7:58 left in the first quarter. The extra point kick bounced off the goalpost. Roughly a minute later Beggs got the ball again after sophomore linebacker Easton Davis forced a fumble, which was recovered by junior LB Dexter Wolf. The Demons were able to drive deep into Bears territory, but the drive was stalled at the Marshall 6.
The Demons were able to outplay Marshall in the second quarter, though no points were scored by either side. A 25-yard pass from JR quarterback Dalton Spring to senior receiver E.J. Smoot was called back because of a pass interference penalty, and JR cornerback Jaidan Grayson had a pick six nullified by a referee’s decision.
The Demons tied the game on SR QB Kobe Haynes’ 19-yard touchdown run with 6:47 left in the third quarter, and took the lead on JR kicker Carson Siegenthaler’s extra point. Momentum continued as SR safety Brandon Williams intercepted a Marshall pass about four minutes later.
The teams traded possessions and turnovers in the fourth quarter; Grayson rescued the Demons from a tough spot by catching a Marshall throw at his own eight-yard line. Beggs drove the ball to midfield before having to punt, only for one play to seal the game as Lee galloped 51 yards for the game-winning touchdown. The two-point conversion pass was good, which meant that the final score was Marshall 14, Beggs 7.
Officials called 26 penalties throughout the game, and the Demons held Marshall’s passing to 33 yards while at least seven different Beggs players registered tackles. Beggs gained about 135 yards in the air and about 110 on the ground.
Next year the OSSAA has the Demons dropping back down into Class 2A, placing them in district 3, along with the local Morris Eagles, Kiefer Trojans and Haskell Haymakers, Other schools in the district are Caney Valley (Ramona), Dewey, Sperry and Victory Christian (Tulsa).
By Wesley Coburn
The Beggs Demons (13-1 overall, 6-0 in 3A-6) are back in the state championship game for the first time in forty years.
They defeated the Sulphur Bulldogs (12-2, 6-0 3A-4) 37-28 Friday night at Edmond Santa Fe High School’s Wolves Stadium.
After an exchange of punts, junior quarterback Dalton Spring threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver E.J. Smoot with 2:53 left in the opening quarter to put the Demons on the scoreboard first, but 57 seconds later Sulphur scored on a seven-yard TD run, and the Bulldogs went ahead 7-6 after the extra point kick.
The Bulldogs pounced on a loose ball in Demon territory and turned it into a 13-yard scoring run with 10:19 to go in the second quarter, but Beggs regained momentum by blocking the extra point. Thirty seconds later Spring scored on a one-yard sneak, and the Demons went ahead 18-13 after Smoot’s eight-yard run with 5:14 left until halftime. Sulphur answered with a 68-yard run and two-point conversion, and the halftime score was Sulphur 21-18.
The Demon defense forced Sulphur into a turnover on downs deep into the third quarter, and two plays later Spring found Smoot for an 83-yard TD pass, only for Sulphur to regain a 28-24 lead on a 17-yard run. But with five seconds left in the quarter, Spring found a receiver in the end zone to go ahead 30-28.
Beggs’ defense stopped the Sulphur offense on fourth down early in the fourth quarter, and with 6:26 to play Spring threw a 53-yard TD to JR WR Shaidan Jordan, and the extra point was good. The game was sealed on a fourth-down sack by JR linebacker T.J. Austin with four minutes to go, as Beggs won 37-28.
The Demons’ opponents next weekend in the Class 3A title game will be the Oklahoma City Marshall Bears, who defeated the Jones Longhorns 29-26 in the other semifinal. The 1975 Demons won the Class A title 21-0 over OKC Millwood.
The game will be played at Stillwater High School’s Pioneer Stadium on Friday, December 8, at 7 p.m. For those unable to attend, it will be broadcast on KOKL 1240 AM.
Recipients of the annual Rural Fire Defense 80/20 Reimbursement Grants have been announced by Oklahoma Forestry Services. The grants provide funding for equipment purchases and fire station construction and are available through an application process to rural fire departments which serve populations of less than 10,000.
“There is a great need for equipment and station construction by our rural fire departments,” said George Geissler, director, Oklahoma Forestry Services. “These departments are the first line of defense for their communities and we would like to be able to offer assistance to more departments.”
A total of $125,000 was available for the program this year and departments were eligible to receive up to $30,000 for fire department construction and up to $20,000 for fire equipment purchases. The grants provide reimbursement of up to 80% of the total amount of projects, with fire departments receiving reimbursement after the purchase or constructions costs have been paid. Sixteen departments were selected to receive the grants this year.
The grants are authorized by Governor Mary Fallin, funded by the Oklahoma Legislature and administered by the Oklahoma Forestry Services, a division of Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry. Oklahoma’s Rural Fire Coordinators grade the applications and select the recipients.
Rural fire departments which have been awarded grants this year include: Boulanger Rural Fire Department; Butler Volunteer Fire Department; Caddo Fire Department; Blackwell Fire Department; Harrah Fire Department; Cordell Volunteer Firefighters Association; Darwin Volunteer Fire Department; Green Country Volunteer Fire Department; Walters Fire Department; Jacktown Fire Department; Monroe Volunteer Fire Association; Ochelata Volunteer Fire Department; Oglesby Civil Defense Volunteer Fire; Sam's Point Volunteer Fire Department; Meeker Fire Department; Rosston Volunteer Fire Department and Wilson Community Volunteer Fire Association.
For more information about the grants and recipients visit the Oklahoma Forestry Services website at www.forestry.ok.gov or call 405-288-2385.
Name: R.B. "Bud" Adams
Place of Residence: Henryetta, Oklahoma
Died: Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Occupation: Supervisor & VP Bill Miller Inc.
Service Date: 2:00 PM Friday, December 1st, 2017
Place of Service: Dewar United Pentecostal Church, Dewar, Oklahoma
Interment: Westlawn Cemetery
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today issued the following statement after the House of Representatives Special Investigation Committee withdrew its subpoena on her chief of staff, Chris Benge:
“My office wants full transparency on what caused the serious financial issues at the Oklahoma State Department of Health. On October 30, I brought together the fiscal staff of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, the state attorney general’s office and the office of the state auditor and inspector to look into the matter to immediately investigate and bring forth clarity to the situation, and offer solutions to ensure proper fiscal management of the Department of Health. Legislative leaders have been briefed about the situation.
“All officials in the executive branch and agencies are happy to voluntarily assist the Oklahoma House Special Committee. It is also important that the House committee confers with the attorney general and the state auditor and inspector who have already begun looking into the Health Department 30 days ago.
“I am pleased this matter could be resolved professionally and amicably. This will bring all of us to focus and exert our energy and attention on developing a long-term, predictable solution to fix our budget, fund core services, and provide a teacher pay raise.”
By Wesley Coburn
The Beggs Demons are one win away from playing for the Class 3A state championship.
Coach Lee Blankenship’s Demons (12-1 overall, 6-0 in 3A-6) will face the Sulphur Bulldogs 12-1, 6-0 3A-4) at 7 p.m. on Friday night at Edmond Santa Fe High School.
For those unable to attend in person, the game will be broadcast on KOKL 1240 AM, and livestreamed on YouTube by the Cookson Hills Sports Network.
To get here, the Demons breezed through their district opponents, finishing undefeated and winning almost every game by double digits. In their lone loss, on the road at Berryhill, the final score was 30-28. They are on an 11-game winning streak.
In the playoffs, Beggs began at Golden Demon Stadium with a 62-28 pounding of the Mannford Pirates, then they hosted Lincoln Christian of Tulsa in the second round, muzzling the Bulldogs 43-14. In the quarterfinals last Friday they traveled to Edmond to face Oklahoma Christian, holding off a late Saints rally to win 32-26.
The winner will play the winner of the Jones Longhorns-Oklahoma City Marshall Bears contest in the championship next weekend at a site to be determined.
The only state championship in football in BHS history came in 1975, when the Demons defeated the OKC Millwood Falcons 21-0 at Tulsa’s Booker T. Washington High School. In the segregated 1950s, black Beggs Wheatley High School won four state championships in football. Beggs last played in a football state title game in 1977, falling 20-0 to Watonga for Class A honors.
Donations needed to fight hunger across the state this holiday season
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin’s annual Feeding Oklahoma Drive kicks off on Sunday, October 1. The month-long drive benefits the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and their partner agencies across the state.
“While many of us can’t imagine not knowing where our next meal is coming from, it’s a reality for thousands of people in our state,” said Fallin. “This drive is an opportunity for all Oklahomans to come together and donate food and funds to ensure our hungry neighbors have food on their tables this winter. I know we can count on the giving spirit of Oklahomans to help.”
“This drive comes at a critical time of year before people start thinking about the needs of many of our hungry neighbors during the holidays,” said Eileen Bradshaw, executive director of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. “We are grateful to Governor Fallin for addressing the issue of hunger in our state and mobilizing friends, businesses and organizations to provide healthy food for our neighbors struggling to put enough food on the table.”
Oklahoma is one of the hungriest states in the nation, with one in six residents struggling with hunger every day. The majority of clients served by the Oklahoma food banks are chronically hungry children, seniors living on fixed incomes and working families who struggle to make ends meet each month.
“We’re happy to once again partner with Governor Fallin to help raise funds and food for Oklahomans with inconsistent access to food,” said Katie Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of the Regional Food Bank. “We are so appreciative that the Feeding Oklahoma Drive shines a light on the issue of hunger in our state. I want to offer a special thank you to the businesses and individuals who participate in this drive.”
About the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the state’s largest hunger-relief organization and a member of Feeding America’s network of Food Banks. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit provides enough food to feed more than 136,000 hungry Oklahomans each week through a network of more than 1,300 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. Since its inception in 1980, the Regional Food Bank has distributed more than 653 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry. For more information, click here.