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AM NewsBrief: Dec. 4, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Monday, Dec. 4, 2023.

Update To Insight Virtual Alternative Education Administrative Rules

Insight School of Oklahoma is celebrating after the State Department of Education altered proposed rules that would have meant the end for the all-virtual, alternative education school.

Insight serves about 1,100 students across the state through a virtual platform. But that would have been put in jeopardy if newly proposed administrative rule changes were enacted. The proposed rules originally would have required students to be in-person for at least four hours everyday — a demand that would have been untenable for the school and its students.

But after receiving backlash in public comments, State Superintendent Ryan Walters said the department was going to leave the rules “as-is,” at Thursday’s State Board of Education meeting. Insight Head of School Jennifer Wilkinson thanked the board for the changes during the meeting’s public comment period.

"The revisions to the proposed rules protect Insight’s students’ ability to thrive in the environment that’s right for them. Thank you for listening to our students, our families, our staff and other advocates and supporting school choice in Oklahoma," said Wilkinson.

Wilkinson said in a statement the school can now return its focus back to students.

OSU Longhorn Death Investigation Continues

An investigation surrounding a dead longhorn discovered near the Oklahoma State University campus continues.

Stillwater Police Department and the Oklahoma Agriculture Investigative Services are looking into the dead longhorn illegally dumped on FarmHouse Franternity’s lawn.

The OSU Animal Disease and Diagnostic Laboratory found the animal was suffering from a “natural disease.” Necropsy results should be available soon.

Initial reports of the investigation suggest members of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity have information on the situation.

Tulsa Chamber Of Commerce Aims To Protect TPS In Upcoming Legislative Session

The Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce says one of its priorities for the 2024 Legislative Session is protecting Tulsa Public Schools as it struggles with the state over accreditation.

The chamber’s Legislative Agenda contains state and federal priorities for 2024, which are co-signed by public bodies. Chamber Government Affairs Senior Vice President Elizabeth Osburn on Friday outlined one of these priorities.

"The Education and Workforce Taskforce wanted to include a line on preserving local control based on some of the threats the Tulsa Public School District continues to face," said Osburn.

State Superintendent Ryan Walters has threatened to lower Tulsa Public Schools’ accreditation, citing student performance and financial mismanagement. The district would lose much of its control if it’s accredited with probation, and would cease to exist if its accreditation is removed.

In response to the chamber’s position, Walters said local control is important, and that he’s glad to see TPS “refocus on local involvement and improving student outcomes."

Recycling Infrastructure Projects For Oklahoma Tribes

The Environmental Protection Agency is granting more than $8 million dollars to bolster Oklahoma tribal nations' recycling efforts.

The Cherokee, Modoc, Musocogee, Otoe Missouria and the Wyandotte Nations of Oklahoma will receive more than $6 million to fund infrastructure projects related to recycling. That includes building a recycling center and renovating existing recycling centers within some of these tribal nations.

The United Keetoowah Band in Northeast Oklahoma will receive $2 million for a grant related to recycling education and outreach.

All of these grants are part of President Joe Biden's Investing in America Plan.

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