Meek returns and other school board actions

Bison Blinds

The Luther School Board unanimously voted in Monday’s meeting to hire Shawn Meek, former Lions football coach, as the new middle school principal. He succeeds Principal Barry Gunn as he moves to superintendent. “We’re excited to be back,” Meek said as the room applauded his return. Meek returns to Luther after a one-year stint in Kingfisher as football coach.

The board celebrated Teacher of the Year candidates. They are elementary art teacher Shari Henderson, middle school English teacher Jason Brown, and high school Oklahoma history and economics teacher Matthew Price. The staff nominee is Food Service Director Randy Rains. 

Other board highlights include renewing an outside contract for an outside encumbrance clerk. To oversimplify, David Harp was hired this school year to train staff on accounting practices and who helps keep track of the checkbook, payroll and the bills. Harp will return next to continue the work under Mr. Gunn’s administration.

The board also rehired its outside auditor. Mr. Ralph Osborn performed this year’s required annual audit that was presented in February.

At that meeting, Osborn said, “We are questioning whether or not the district is capable of budgeting … You are now in a position of what you should have done previously was reduce expenses.” He said that he expected the State Auditor’s office to have findings regarding the district’s bond issue. The State Audit, by the way, is due “soon.” There are two other audits to finish before it’s Luther’s turn.

During February’s budget presentation,  Osborn presented several findings ranging from the district’s failure regarding “segregation of duties” (having separate persons collect, count and deposit funds whether it be at a concession stand at a game or the cafeteria line) to buying giftcards without leaving records for what they were used. Osborn also found mistakes in spending bond funds inappropriately, not bidding out for construction projects and spending general funds for capital projects. Other findings included over-paying employees and paying invoices without proper purchase orders. The district has implemented a corrective action plan to remedy many of the findings. 

Back to Monday night’s meeting, the board also approved an effort to give students ability to earn math and science credits from Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center.

High School Principal Jerry Martin gave the school’s college remediation report from the Class of 2014. He said 21 of the 60 seniors went to college. Of those students, none had to take a remediation course in science, five students had to take an English remediation course, ten students had to take a math one, and two students had to take a reading one. Twelve of these 21 students only had to take a remediation class in one subject.

The Board voted to settle ARC Architectural Firm’s lawsuit against the school.  “The settlement is for $20,000 and is to come from the building fund,” said board member Tony Rumpl. The issue regards ARC’s bid work to repair a leaky roof at the LPS Auditorium. Dr. Buxton had denied obligating the district to a contract, but it was actually signed. The roof work has not been fixed.

The board went into executive session to discuss the superintendent contract for Mr.Gunn and talk about applications for the vacant board seat. They took no action but called a called for a Special Meeting, Monday, April 17,  to interview and possibly appoint a new board member. The applicants are Matt Mohr, Doug Wilson, Jennifer Phillips, and CJ Cavin. 

Other tidbits: there is no school this Friday; but this Friday night is the prom at Broken Horn Ranch. And state testing will be this week and next week at each school.

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