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#FeaturedFour: Neu’s Future, Corrections Conversation, Budget Cuts, Budget Solution?

Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent Rob Neu speaks to reporters in August 2014, shortly after taking the position.
Oklahoma City Public Schools
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Facebook
Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent Rob Neu speaks to reporters in August 2014, shortly after taking the position.

Four stories that were trending or generated discussion online or on KGOU’s social media platforms during the past week.

On Monday, news broke that Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent Rob Neu reportedly told board members he planned to step down. The district said Neu had not submitted formal resignation paperwork, and Neu himself issued a statement saying, “I have not resigned,” but he did not explicitly deny the rumor. The district held a meeting Thursday evening to address Neu’s employment. But when board members emerged from a five-hour closed-door executive session, there were more questions than answers, and Board President Lynne Hardin said Neu was “out of the office,” Associate Superintendent Aurora Lora had assumed the superintendent duties. The issue will be addressed again at an April 25 meeting.
Reader Betty Blatt wrote on Facebook: “You don't need highly paid Asst. Princials to handle discipline problems. Set the rules, give teachers the authority to follow the rules, & use common sense. Kids sitting in the principal's office for hours or being sent home used to work. Or call the police in some cases.”

Joe Allbaugh, interim director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, describes himself as a quick decision maker who wants to make a difference.
Credit Michael Willmus / Oklahoma Watch
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Oklahoma Watch
Joe Allbaugh, interim director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, describes himself as a quick decision maker who wants to make a difference.

Tuesday night our colleagues at Oklahoma Watch held a forum with Joe Allbaugh, the interim director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. During the hour-long conversation, Allbaugh outlined his chief concerns with the department, and what he hopes to see given the current budget crisis.

Reader Eddie Garrett writes: “Crime issues will never be productively managed until people become honest with the language they use to discuss those issues.”

Superintendent Kyle Wood oversees Bixby Public Schools, which expanded its school year in 2010 but will roll back that increase this year because of budget cuts.
Credit Clifton Adcock / Oklahoma Watch
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Oklahoma Watch
Superintendent Kyle Wood oversees Bixby Public Schools, which expanded its school year in 2010 but will roll back that increase this year because of budget cuts.

Oklahoma requires one of the shortest school years in the nation, in terms of instructional days. But that hasn’t stopped a growing number of districts from ending their school year early this year or moving to four-day weeks this year and possible next to deal with cutbacks in state funding.

Gov. Mary Fallin addresses the media at the state capitol on April 13, 2016.
Credit Jacob McCleland / KGOU
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KGOU
Gov. Mary Fallin addresses the media at the state capitol on April 13, 2016.

On Wednesday Gov. Mary Fallin unveiled an updated budget proposal to help close a $1.3 billion gap in Oklahoma’s budget for Fiscal Year 2017, which starts July 1. It involved transportation bonds, eliminating tax exemptions, and changing the apportionment system. Fallin highlighted the deep cuts public education is taking, calling a four-day school week “unacceptable.”
Reader Matt Edison wrote on Facebook: “If it's unacceptable, then tell your party members to stop lowering taxes to the point where funding anything (except your sacred cow tax credits) is completely impossible.”

That’s a look at four stories that audiences appreciated on KGOU’s social media and online platforms this week. We’re always interested in your comments, feel free to write to us at news@kgou.org.

KGOU is a community-supported news organization and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online, or by contacting our Membership department.

Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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