Former Teacher, Longtime Sapulpa Resident Seeking School Board Seat

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Cheryl Jackson, longtime advocate of education, is seeking election for Sapulpa School Board Seat 1. She is a 1982 graduate of Charles Page High School and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree with a minor in Accounting from Langston University. Cheryl worked in private sector accounting for 16 years, including 5 years as Financial Coordinator for Metro Christian Academy prior to seeking her Alternative Teaching Certification. Her passion for teaching led her to attain certification and highly qualified teacher status in Career Tech Business, all Social Studies 6-12 and some Sciences 6-12 with a total of 19 subject area certifications. Cheryl has served as elected representative for her peers at Glenpool High School, served on the technology and professional development committees at Charles Page High School and has earned Teacher of the Month and Teacher of the Year honors. She also earned Lead Teacher certification at Tulsa Tech/TCC 8th Floor. Her classroom experience includes Career Tech, Advanced Placement ©, general education, alternative education and virtual charter school. She was a 2013 recipient of a Fund For Teachers Fellowship to research and write a virtual Oklahoma History curriculum. Cheryl left the classroom in 2013 to be able to focus on advocacy for Oklahoma students on a more active basis. She is currently semi-retired working part time as an auditor and tax preparer for a Tulsa CPA firm.

Cheryl (second from the left) pictured with her son Gabe, her husband Dennis, daughter Caroline and son Kaden.
Cheryl (second from the left) pictured with her son Gabe, her husband Dennis, daughter Caroline and son Kaden.

Though not a native Sapulpan, Cheryl married Chieftain Dennis Jackson, son of former teacher/school board member Kay Jackson, and made Sapulpa her home in 1997. Together Dennis and Cheryl have raised their three children in Sapulpa schools. Caroline, now a kindergarten teacher at Kellyville, is a 2011 graduate and Gabe and Kaden are set to graduate in 2017 and 2018. Cheryl is an active volunteer with the Chieftain Instrumental Music Program volunteering as food coordinator to keep the band fed before ball games and at marching competitions.  She also holds the positions of Treasurer and Advancement Chair on the Executive Committee of Boy Scout Troop 224 where both sons earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 2015. Always looking for a way to make things better, Cheryl writes grants for the Sapulpa Band Boosters 501(c)3 organization, news articles for the band and Boy Scouts, and is currently serving on the State Department of Education Teacher Shortage Task Force.

Since 2008 Cheryl has maintained a database of school demographics and financial data from information available through open records to be a more informed voter and to communicate concerns with her elected officials. The trends in this data are what have driven her to step into the arena and seek public office. Read her statement below.

It is my firm belief that the life of a town is wrapped up in two governing bodies, the School Board and the City Council. By no means do I want to live in a town the size of Broken Arrow or Jenks, but I do want my little town to thrive and serve its residents well. I am heartbroken to see our town regress demographically and our schools offer less and less opportunity for students. My hope is to bring change for the better for our kids and future generations. I agree, this is some pretty dismal information and some will label me as “negative”.  But until we acknowledge the facts and make a concerted effort to change there will be no improvement in our schools or town.

The Sapulpa School Board is charged with the following responsibilities:

“The Board of Education of Sapulpa Independent School District, elected by the people of the district and given legal authority by the statutes of the State of Oklahoma, has the responsibility for adopting rules, regulations, policies and by-laws as the members of the Board deem proper; and controlling, managing and governing the schools of the district.” (Sapulpa School Board Policies)

It is my opinion that the Board of Education needs to take a more proactive role in the management of the district finances and mission to try to reverse the negative impact of numerous variables, local, state and federal, affecting Sapulpa Schools.  The general public gets sound bites and a lot of mis-information about the status of our schools. I’d like to share some facts.  The following information is from the years 2008-2014. 2014-2015 data is not all available to the public at this time.

Sapulpa School Report Card 2008-2014 www.schoolreportcard.org
District Population    +2.85%
% 1st-3rd graders in reading remediation  +26.35%
Average number of days absent per student  +24.21%
Suspension to Student Ratio: 1 (<=10 days) per student +111.76%
Suspension to Student Ratio: 1 (>10 days) per student  +77.15%
Average Daily Enrollment     -6.13%
Number of Teachers     -9.66%
Average Teacher Salary    +3.16%
Special Ed Teachers   -12.35%
Counselors   -12.31%
Other Certified Professional Staff   +49.27%
School and District Administrators   -16.46%
Average Salary of Administrators   +14.61%
4 Year Drop Out Rate   +57.14%

Between 2008-2014 our district reduced spending on instruction over $1.2 million dollars annually while increasing general administrative spending almost $500,000. Our General Fund carryover has dropped over $3 million or 62% in 3 years leaving us with almost nothing to fall back on in the event of revenue failure by the state. Now our current Board of Education is asking students to make cuts again when Sapulpa has some of the highest administrative spending in our peer group. https://sdeweb01.sde.ok.gov/OCAS_Reporting/

The Sapulpa Board of Education must assist the Superintendent in re-directing funds back to instruction, work to recover teacher morale, and guide administration in offering students competitive academics. My expertise in accounting and classroom experience in peer districts will bring new vision to Sapulpa.

I will fight for new policy that:

  • Scrutinizes expenditures making classroom and student needs priority one
  • Narrows the gap between general administrative and instructional staff pay
  • Forbids deficit spending for purposes other than instructional or extraordinary circumstances.
  • Brings administrative spending into peer averages
  • Demands high quality & diverse course offerings at the Middle, Junior & Senior High Schools
  • Addresses increases in student absenteeism, suspension, drop out and juvenile crime rates
  • Works to attract and retain high quality staff
  • Improves staff morale and mutual respect at ALL levels through professional development
  • Provides current staff necessary tools, feedback and training to be successful
  • Open door communications between school staff, parents, community & school board
  • Provides REAL fiscal transparency
    • Very specific disclosure of bond estimates compared to actual expenditures
  • Requires all certified personnel to be annually evaluated using the same TLE tool
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Micah Choquette

Micah Choquette

Micah is the owner/Editor-In-Chief of Sapulpa Times and passionate about telling the everyday stories in the town that we love. You can find him on Twitter at @meetmicah or email him at news@sapulpatimes.com.

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