The Luther School Board met in its next to last meeting of the fiscal year Monday night. They hired some teachers, a new elementary principal, approved various contracts and were told the district is closing in on having nearly one million dollars in “carry-over” funding to start the next school budget year that begins next month.
Superintendent Barry Gunn, finishing his first year as the head of the Luther school district, said the district was careful in spending this year and made “common sense purchases” and avoided major expenses. The financial picture given Monday night contrasted with a meeting held two years ago when the district laid off teachers and slashed budgets dramatically.
It’s anticipated the extra funding will help to fund teacher pay raises next school year. Although the Oklahoma Legislature approved a teacher pay raise, Luther will not get the revenue raised through increased taxes on things like gasoline, cigarettes and gross production taxes. Why? Because the district is among about 30 districts in the state that are enough off of the state funding formula so Luther isn’t included in the revenue package. Nevertheless, the district plans to fund the raise at a cost of about $450,000 for certified teachers and staff.
In other business, the board hired new teachers for the 2018-2019 school year. Mr. Sean Lowell was hired as a middle school history teacher and assistant baseball coach. And Mrs. Melody Seather will be coming back to Luther as a middle school and high school special education teacher.
The district hired Mrs. Tracey Davenport as the new elementary principal. She comes from Choctaw Elementary where she served as the assistant principal. She also served in Oklahoma City as a teacher at Eugene Field and Ridgeview Elementary schools. Mrs. Davenport, of Jones, said she is ready to become part of the community.
“I’m ready to support our teachers so they can do their jobs. I’m looking forward to meeting them and meeting the kids!” she said. Among her first tasks will be hiring new teachers. Mrs. Davenport said she will be accepting applications for two first grade and one third grade teacher.
The board will meet again at the end of June and will take off the month of July.