After a couple of months of a contract bouncing back and forth between the Town of Luther and the Luther School Board, an agreement has been signed as of Monday night to put a full-time resource officer at Luther Public Schools.
Luther alumnus Officer Chris Tate is expected to start as soon as possible, and will have a meeting Tuesday morning with Luther Police Chief David Randall and LPS principals and the superintendent.
Before voting unanimously to approve the armed officer on the school grounds, several board members noted that the contract, originated by the Town of Luther, states that the school will pay the salary for ten months of the Town’s officer started with the school year.
The contract amount doesn’t reflect the two month delay of getting the contract finalized.
“In looking this over, there would be a legal obligation for the district to pay for a service that wasn’t rendered,” said Board Member Tony Rumpl. “I’m inclined to take (Luther Police) Chief Randall at his word that the Town won’t ask for services that weren’t rendered … I think this is important enough to get this program going to protect the children. I have faith in our Town Board that they won’t come after us for money we don’t owe.”
Even if so, the board members agreed to the contract.
“Bottom line, we need to get a Resource Officer on campus as soon as possible. We’ve already waited two months,” said Board President Steve Broudy.
The School Resource Officer program, as well as a program to arm certain school employees were in motion before an incident on the first day of the school year involving the stabbing of a freshman student allegedly by another freshman. The victim is recovering.
With that dramatic start to the school year that grabbed national headlines, the first nine weeks of the 2018-19 school year is almost complete. High School Principal Shawn Meek told the board that testing is scheduled later this week; and parent teacher conferences are next week.
Meek also bragged on the high school band who won second place at a contest in Okmulgee two weeks ago, and came in first at the Chickasaw Band Days in Tishomingo this last weekend.
He also mentioned that the Cross Country Team will be in Regionals in Enid on Saturday, following a road trip football game in Alva on Friday night. Incidentally, The Lion Reporter will cover both events.
Mr. Meek also reported that there will be a Financial Aid Night at the High School on October 25 for parents and students preparing for higher education.
Other meeting news:
- ENROLLMENT. Mr. Gunn reported the enrollment for the district is at 832 students, up from 819 students a year ago.
- PAY RAISES. Financial Consultant David Harp told the board the district has completed two full payrolls with the new raises for faculty and staff. The raises cost the district an extra $500,000, with only about $100,000 paid by the state funding formula. Mr. Gunn and Mr. Harp said it’s likely some salaries will be taken out of the Child Nutrition Fund, for food service employees, and the Building Fund, for maintenance employees, to keep more money in the general fund. “It’s a little disheartening saying the number out loud. But we are financially stable because of the money we have been saving,” said Mr. Gunn.
- The board moved to work toward an electronic agenda system from the Oklahoma State School Boards Association. The $2500 cost will streamline compiling and posting agendas for board meetings, saving staff time and paper for numerous copies. Another added cost will be acquiring a laptop, tablet or other device for school board members to use to use the new system. Mr. Broudy indicated he was hesitant to spend money for the board’s convenience if it took money away from the student’s educational experiences. Mr. Gunn pledged to find the best price on five devices for the school board.
Finally, the board approved an election date for the next school board election in February. Board Seat #4 is coming up for re-election, currently held by Sherri Anderson who was elected five years ago. She said she plans to run again.
Last year, there was no school board election as appointed member CJ Cavin did not draw an election opponent. Filing for the seat occurs in early December at the Oklahoma County Election Board.
It is anticipated that the School Board will hold a Special Meeting soon to talk about a School Bond Election , possibly to be held in January 2019. While details have not been shared publicly, Mr. Gunn said the bond proposal would be for a new high school gym, plus a safe room and cafeteria for the lower schools, among other things.