ARDMORE, OK -- Several Oklahoma rural area school districts say sometimes they feel they are overlooked, but Wednesday afternoon some local schools got the chance to speak out and voice their opinions to state leaders.
Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi met with superintendents and teachers from all schools in House District 49 this afternoon. Nine schools including Madill, Kingston, Lone Grove and several others. For the first time all of the area school leaders were able to get together to discuss common questions and goals with each other and state leaders.
At the meeting, held in Marietta's School Cafeteria, Barresi listened to concerns and answered questions from several area school leaders.
The biggest issue brought to attention was school funding. Lone Grove Superintendent Todd Garrison says working with the same budget they have had for years is a struggle as things have grown more costly; however, he says he is happy small school leaders got the opportunity to voice their needs. Garrison says after the meeting he is hoping to gain direction on how to deal with certain issues, and also hopes the event only marks the beginning of a stronger relationship between their schools and the state.
"It'll be nice to have that gap bridged, and establishing communication between the schools and State Department and get some direction and some clarification," Garrison said.
"It really is an important perspective for me to be down here in their district, and to hear about their concerns but also to celebrate with them their victories," Superintendent Barresi said.
Thursday's meeting was part of Superintendent Barresi's listening tour. Friday she will be visiting Durant and Atoka to meet with more local educators. Those meetings will be open to the public.