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Means business

OKCPS school board not as exciting as state board

None February 16th, 2011

The Oklahoma City Public Schools’ Board of Education will have a new face, after an incumbent was unseated during the Feb. 9 elections.

Incumbent David Castillo was defeated by challenger Jay Means in a three-way race for the District 6 seat, which represents southwest Oklahoma City. Castillo came in third with 15 percent of the vote, while Means garnered 68 percent of the vote. The third candidate Charles Campbell, got around 16 percent of the vote.

Means, a retired administrator and English teacher and in 2004, unsuccessfully ran as a Republican candidate for state House District 93, Rep. Mike Christian’s current seat.

Means said he was elated by the decisive win.

“I’m pleased as punch,” Means said.

“In a three-way race, we got almost seven out of 10. I don’t know how you can get seven out of 10 to agree on anything.”

Means said he hopes to shake up the status quo at the district and restore ad valorem tax dollars that have been diverted to other projects, such as the downtown tax increment financing, or TIF districts, used to fund Project 180.

“I certainly hope we can start educating our children. We’re not doing a very good job on that right now,” Means said.

“The status quo has been we need to spend millions of dollars on new facilities, which is fine, but we need to get the millions of dollars we’re losing in the TIFs downtown back in our coffers, that way we don’t need (future MAPS projects).”

Means said he will bring a conservative philosophy to the board, something he said was sorely lacking, and that the board elections are designed to favor liberals and progressives because they are not held during general elections.

“If it’s a nonpartisan, why is it (school board) dominated by Democrats?” Means said. “You’re very naive if you don’t think that school boards break down along party lines.

“It’s funny — when the tea party gets in involved, or tea party activists get involved, with school board races, all of a sudden it’s political. When progressives dominated the school board, it wasn’t political at all. It’s just bizarre to me how people can take that slant.”

Despite his conservative philosophy, Means said he looks forward to working with the board president, Angela Monson, who was backed by Democrats during her election to the board and served in both the state House and Senate as a Democrat.

“Angela Monson and I have been friends for years now, and I can’t tell you how fortunate the school is to have her wisdom, background and experience and the way she handles things,” Means said.

“She’s on the other side of the aisle. That’s OK, because you need more than one voice. We have plenty of liberal voices on there; now it’s time for some conservative voices.”

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