By Cathy Spaulding

Phoenix Staff Writer

Candidates involved in school board runoffs for Haskell and Briggs offer differing views of handling funding cutbacks and other issues.

The runoff elections are Tuesday, and in-person absentee voting is Thursday and Friday.

Shannon Tate Robertson, 37, faces Annette Long Stinnett, 52, for Briggs Board of Education, Office 1. The winner replaces Deretha Dawes.

The two agree Briggs needs to find ways to make up for state funding cutbacks.

“We’ve had new construction in the area, so we do have potential for growth,” Robertson said. “You have to seek grants. You have to get creative to continue to offer new and better things to your students.”

Robertson, a former Briggs teacher, said parents help schools get by with less money by volunteering at the school.

Stinnett said the district needs “to come up with new and more innovative ways to find money.”

“It just has to be savvy enough to use it,” said Stinnett, a secretary at the Cherokee Nation. “I don’t know how the Cherokee Nation has partnered with schools. We have an education department that can be a help.”  

Stinnett also proposed a high school for Briggs.

“A high school would help our get our graduation rates up and our dropout rates down,” Stinnett said. “Transferring kids from country schools to city schools is kind of a culture shock. They wouldn’t be safe in an overcrowded situation.”

However, Robertson said she is “very strongly against it.”

 “In Cherokee County, we have four high schools to choose from — Tahlequah, Hulbert, Sequoyah and Keys,” Robertson said. “At the time Keys put its high school in, it more than doubled the property tax.”

Robertson garnered 74 votes, or 40.2 percent, in the Feb. 11 election. Stinnett won 56 votes, or 30.4 percent. Dawes was edged out when she landed 54 votes, or 29.4 percent.

In Haskell, Brian Lewis, 28, faces Sherry Brashear, 42, for the Office 4 seat formerly held by Mike Drain.

In the Feb. 11 election, Brashear won 83 votes, or 40.9 percent; Lewis, 73 votes, or 36 percent; and Terence Golla, received 47 votes, or 23.1 percent.

Brashear, a bookkeeper and former school employee, said she is concerned how cutbacks could affect staff and classroom size.

“I don’t think cutting teachers is what we need to do,” Brashear said. “We’ve got to find other areas that can be cut. For starters, cutting back on vehicles we don’t need to be buying. We can’t cut back on teachers.”

Lewis, an emergency medical technician, agreed the district needs more money for teachers.

“Some kids need one-on-one teaching, and you can’t do it if there are 30 kids in a classroom,” he said in a previous story. “We just need to manage our money so we are not letting any funds slip through the cracks. ”

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

Key dates

• Today: Absentee ballot applications due.

• Thursday:  In-person absentee or early voting, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• Friday: In-person absentee or early voting, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• April 1: Election Day.

Meet the candidates

Haskell School Board, Office 4

Sherry Brashear

OFFICE SOUGHT: Haskell Board of Education, Office 4.

AGE: 42.

HOMETOWN: Haskell.

EDUCATION: East Central High School.

FAMILY: Husband, Eric; four children.

PROFESSION: Bookkeeper at Andrews Accounting.

RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Baptist.

HOBBIES: Photography and spending time with family.

Brian Lewis

OFFICE SOUGHT: Haskell Board of Education, Office 4.

AGE: 28.

HOMETOWN: Haskell.

EDUCATION: Haskell High School, 2005; emergency medical technician training. Now attending paramedic training.

FAMILY: Wife, Tiffany; two children.

PROFESSION: Emergency medical technician with the Muskogee County Emergency Medical Service.

RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Assembly of God.

HOBBIES: Golf.

•   •   •

Briggs School Board, Office 1

Shannon Tate Robertson

OFFICE SOUGHT: Briggs School Board, Office 1.

AGE: 37.

HOMETOWN: Briggs and Tahlequah.

EDUCATION: Tahlequah High School. Bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Northeastern State University.

FAMILY: Husband, Tracey Robertson; three children.

PROFESSION: Former Briggs teacher.

RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Cornerstone Fellowship.

HOBBIES: Staying involved with children’s activities, work at the ranch.

Annette Long Stinnett

OFFICE SOUGHT: Briggs School Board, Office 1.

AGE: 52.

HOMETOWN: Tahlequah.

EDUCATION: Tahlequah High School. Degree in business administration from Northeastern State University.

PROFESSION: Secretary at Cherokee Nation.

FAMILY: Husband, Marty Stinnett. One daughter.

RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Church of Christ.

HOBBIES:  Travel, amateur photography, community service.

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