By Ashli Sims, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Supporters of State Question 744 and its opponents are in an increasingly testy battle of wills.
They've bickered over facts, campaign contributions and now the cast of characters in the commercials. People on both sides are questioning whether the folks in the ads are really Oklahoma teachers.
Some teachers coming out against the state question that would increase to the regional average the amount of money Oklahoma spends per student.
It wasn't long after the ad hit the airwaves that News On 6 reporter Ashli Sims received a voicemail from one viewer who said the first person on the commercial, Patrick Allmond, was not a teacher.
After searching, the News On 6 found a Patrick Allmond, from Oklahoma City, who looks like the Mr. Patrick in the ad. Patrick Allmond is the owner of Focus Consulting, not an Oklahoma teacher.
But the News On 6 went back and checked the ad and found out Mr. Patrick is never identified as a teacher.
"In our commercials, if they're identified as a teacher," Jeff Wilson, One Oklahoma Coalition, said. "They are an Oklahoma public school teacher."
Jeff Wilson is the campaign manager for the One Oklahoma Coalition. News On 6 reporter Ashli Sims asked him for the full names and schools of Ms. Melody and Ms. Katy who are both labeled as Oklahoma teachers.
"I've given you their first names. I'm reluctant to give you their last names just because they are private individuals," Wilson said. "They're a little less willing to speak out now, quite frankly, because well, they've had some difficult comments directed their way, since they've appeared in the ad."
The News On 6 was able to independently confirm that Ms. Melody is an Oklahoma City public school fifth-grade teacher, but wasn't able to find Ms. Katy.
"But I can guarantee you they're teachers. They're in the classroom every day. They're making a difference. They're good people. They're good Oklahomans just like you and I," Wilson said. "I can tell you the people who are identified in our ads are teachers. The other side, I don't know."
So the News On 6 did check out the teachers shown in the Yes Ads.
The Yes campaign provided her with full names and she was able to verify all of them are Oklahoma public school teachers. One was even featured in a story by the Oklahoma Impact Team. The Yes campaign says all of the children in the ad are Oklahomans too.
News On 6 reporter Ashli Sims asked Patrick Allmond if he'd received any negative feedback after his appearance in the ad. He replied, "not at all." In fact, he says he's received praise from most people, including a few teachers.
For more on all the state questions on the November ballot, check out NewsOn6.com/politics.