Barry Gunn was unanimously selected the new superintendent of Luther Public Schools during a special school board meeting Thursday night.
“I’m excited for the opportunity and am overwhelmed by the support from the community,” said Gunn who was the undisputed “fan favorite” for the job to lead the 900-student district. Gunn currently is the middle school principal and transportation director. He will succeed Dr. Sheldon Buxton who announced his July 2017 resignation back in December. Although there were reportedly at least 30 candidates for the job, the board only interviewed Gunn. However, other candidates who were scheduled for interviews withdrew their applications.
The four-member school board met for less than an hour behind closed doors to consider the superintendency and hiring certified teachers for next school year. Tenured faculty will return, while the contracts for first year teachers will be held up until May, while the district waits on the Oklahoma Legislature to determine funding education funding for next year.
Gunn said he is overwhelmed by the faith the board has in him and he pledges to do all he can not to let anyone down. “I will do the best I can for the kids. They will be my focus.”
Asked about the budget and the possibility that the district will face more budget cuts due to decreased state funding. “It’ll all be fine,” he reassured.
Gunn said the state of education funding is a problem everywhere. He said the district is determined to make it work, while looking to maintain and add programs that will benefit Luther students.
Also Thursday night, the board officially accepted the resignation of their former fellow board member, Charles DeFuria who resigned Monday night. From today’s date, the board has 60 days to fill the spot, or call for a special election if they can not agree on a candidate to appoint. The regular election for that board seat is February 2018.
Board President Steve Broudy took the liberty, in personal remarks, to say he would like to avoid a Special Election at a cost of $3,000 and hopes the board can come to a consensus, with their four votes, to appoint a qualified board member.
He also said he would not support appointing any of three candidates who have been defeated in previous school board elections. He said those names are Terry Price, Patrice Christy and Matt Mohr. Broudy said the voters had spoken. Board member Sherri Anderson questioned whether Broudy was referring to a policy, and he said it was not official policy. “It’s what I believe,” he said.
Incidentally, Mohr attended the first part of Thursday’s meeting; the first meeting he has observed since Tony Rumpl won election for the board seat Mohr held for one term. Dr. Buxton did not attend the meeting.
“We have a trust issue with the public, and we need time to heal and be unified,” said Broudy explaining he would like to hear from the community about the board vacancy.
Board member Tony Rumpl said they welcome applications and hope to be able to appoint a new board member at the April 10, 2017, meeting.
If you are interested in serving on the Luther School Board, there are some requirements, listed on the website of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association (see below). Broudy invites anyone interested in serving to use the board members’ emails on the Board of Education page on the Luther Lions website to send their information.
Who is eligible/ineligible to file for the school board election?
To be eligible to be a candidate for member of the board of education of a school district, a person must have resided in the district for at least six months preceding the first day of the filing period, and have been a registered voter registered with the county election board at an address located within the geographical boundaries of the district for six months preceding the first day of the filing period. In school districts that have been divided into election districts, a candidate must have resided in the district for six months preceding the first day of the filing period and have been a registered voter registered within the county election board at an address located within the geographical boundaries of the election district for six months preceding the first day of the filing period. 26 O.S. § 13A-106, S.L.O. § 714.
No person shall be eligible to be a candidate for or elected to be a member of the board of education of a school district unless the person has been awarded a high school diploma or certificate of high school equivalency. 26 O.S. § 13A-106, S.L.O. § 714.
A person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor involving embezzlement or a felony under the laws of this state or of the United States or who has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to such misdemeanor involving embezzlement or felony or who has been convicted of a crime in another state which would have been a misdemeanor involving embezzlement or a felony under the laws of this state or has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to such crime shall not be eligible to be a candidate for or be elected to any state, municipal, judicial, or school office or any other elective office of any political subdivision of this state for a period of fifteen years following completion of his sentence or during the pendency of an appeal of such conviction or plea.
The candidate is ineligible to run if he or she is an incumbent who has failed to earn his or her continuing education credits for the current term of office. 70 O.S. § 5-110.1, O.S.L. § 58 & AG Op. No. 01-33.
No candidate shall be eligible to be a candidate for or serve on a board of education if he or she is currently employed by the school district governed by that board of education or is related within the second degree by affinity or consanguinity to any other member of the board of education or to any employee of the school district governed by the board of education. 70 O.S. § 5-113, S.L.O. § 60.