Delaying the Luther Superintendent’s Contract

Bison Blinds

Four members of the Luther School Board met in executive session for more than two and a half hours Monday night to “discuss the Superintendent’s evaluation and contract.” When the meeting resumed to open session at 9:30 pm, the board voted to delay the vote on Barry Gunn’s contract until the February meeting, when absent board member Tony Rumpl would be present.

“We are behind him 100%,” said Board President Steve Broudy, noting the lengthy meeting should not reflect negatively against the superintendent. Board Member Sherri Anderson echoed that saying, “we want to be above reproach.”

Luther School Board

Board Member CJ Cavin said the board’s position is not to comment on personnel issues. “The evaluation of the Superintendent is a vital tool for the Board to set the ongoing priorities of the District. As Superintendent Gunn finishes up his second year as our school’s administrator, the Board is encouraged by the direction of our School District,” said Cavin.

Budget Picture

In other board business, Encumbrance Clerk David Harp said some payroll expenses have been moved from the general fund to the building and child nutrition funds as the district copes with paying teacher pay raises. Luther did not receive much funding from the state to pay for the mandated teacher and staff pay raises approved last year. Harp said about $145,000 was pulled from the building fund to meet payroll for maintenance staff, and $50,000 came out of the child nutrition fund for food service staff.

Harp said the district also took a $31,000 cut from the State Department of Education in its “mid-year adjustment.” It was also noted that the district also only received about half of the $80,000 textbook allowance.

“Within a year, we have taken about a $500,000 ‘haircut’ from the state,” said Cavin. The funds could have been applied to other needs in the district, he said such as technology or needed maintenance. Other board members said more faculty could have been hired as well. But Anderson said at least the district had the funds and is in a healthy position to absorb the cuts.

Treasurer Gary Roy and Harp told the board the district is in good shape budget-wise, noting that ad valorem deposits are coming in from Oklahoma, Logan and Lincoln counties, with a recent deposit of $950,000 from Oklahoma County.

Bond Failure

Mr. Gunn said he would address the “elephant in the room” during the portion of the meeting where he gives a Superintendent’s Report. He said voter data will be studied to find out what the issues were that attributed to the failure to earn a super-majority of the vote in the January 8 bond election. He is also making his way to each school this week to discuss the bond election with faculty and staff.

“Obviously the needs of the students are there. We are working for them. We will get back at it and reorganize” he said.

A New Secretary and a Broken Record

The board accepted, reluctantly, the resignation of long-time high school secretary Tammy Westermier.  Board members and Supt. Gunn thanked her for her service, wished her well and said she will be missed. The board approved the hiring of Heather Vigil as her successor and thanked her for moving into the role from serving students in the cafeteria.

Mr. Gunn announced that at the Stroud 66 Classic basketball tournament last weekend, a new high scoring record was set busting the long-held record. Both records were from LHS students. The one who held the record was Board Member Ray Stanfield with 31 points. The one who broke it was his daughter, Raychel Stanfield, with 32 points.

“She never gave up; it was a fun week,” said her proud father.

Read about the tournament here. The Lions host home games Tuesday and Friday this week, with Homecoming on Friday.

Raychel Stanfield photo by Jacob Factor

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