A School Board Vacancy, and Guarding Against Coronavirus

Highlights of March Luther School Board Meeting

Bison Blinds

“If we get a positive test, it’ll be a game changer,” said Luther Public School Superintendent Barry Gunn. He gave an update at the March school board meeting on action plans concerning Covid-19 at the school district.There are no confirmed (nor unconfirmed) cases in Luther, to be clear. For now, he said district staff has increased vigilance of killing germs at the schools.

He said he is monitoring all information provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma State Department of Education and other resources. There is also some contingency planning as well, should a case develop.

From cleaning the district’s ten buses twice a day, to spraying every surface in classrooms and public areas, he praised the cleaning team for their vigilance. Mr. Gunn said in the case of any outbreak and if the district had to close, they are well-prepared for older students for online learnings from 7 – 12 grades. But he said the district is not as prepared to send learning and technology home for lower grades.

Still, he said Luther Public Schools is as well-prepared as any other district. There are no out-of-state or out-of-country school trips planned by the school. Spring Break begins Friday, but he said the district would not know whether any students would be traveling where the virus might be widespread.

“I’m hoping it doesn’t hit,” he told the board.

School Board Shuffle

Kevin Boydston took his oath of office after winning the school board election in February. He succeeds Ray Stanfield who served his full five-year term on the board and chose not to seek re-election at the end of his term. Voters in the school district are asked to go to the polls one more time on April 7 to select Brandon Rogers or Gerald McCauley for an unexpired term on the school board. Rogers was appointed to the seat last September. Because the previous board member did not serve enough of his term, an election was necessary to ensure voter representation.

The school district received a bill from the Oklahoma County Election Board for $6,000 to cover election expenses for the February election.

In addition, there is a new vacancy on the board. School Board President Sherri Anderson resigned as of February 22, 2020, when she said in a letter that she moved out of the district. Mr. Gunn read her letter, received on the day of the meeting, in which she wrote that she enjoyed her six years of service and the district has amazing employees.

Anderson was elected to her second five-year term less than a year ago, and was voted to be board president by her fellow board members in May. With the vacancy, policy provides that the four remaining board members will interview and select her replacement who will serve until the next regular election. Filing for that is in December. Interested applicants should contact Gunn at the school district to fill out a one-page application.

The board will interview candidates at the April 13, 2020, board meeting; timing that is within the 90-day requirement to avoid calling a special election.

At Monday’s meeting, the board realigned its leadership voting for Steve Broudy as president, Tony Rumpl remaining as vice president and Rogers as clerk.

The board also received the annual audit. In a brief report, Ralph Osborn, CPA, told the board there are no issues of concern with the district’s finances. The audit will eventually be online at the State Auditor and Inspector’s office for public review.

Osborn said the audit matched the district’s Estimate of Needs, with no changes. He explained that the district is $9 million in debt from the 2012 bond issue that built the high school. A meeting regarding the $980,000 annual lease payment on that debt is scheduled at the end of March, with the full debt scheduled to be paid off in 2026. Gunn said of the upcoming payment, “it’s a little piece of the high school paid off, and we get closer to owning it.”

The School Board also approved some new hires for next school year:

  • Tissy Vaughan – Elementary Special Education Teacher
  • Tessica Taylor – Elementary/Middle School Counselor.

In addition, Seth Barrett was hired as an assistant baseball coach.

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