The Okmulgee Public Schools Board of Education met on Tuesday, August 11, for a regular meeting. Tod Williams, Rod Wiemer, Mike James, Mark Tuggle, and Marcus Jeffrey were all in attendance. Item A on the consent agenda was the consideration of the minutes of special meetings held on June 26, June 30, July 13, July 16, and July 23. All minutes were approved by the board. Item B was the consideration of monthly encumbrances/expenditures including General fund purchase orders and payroll, building fund purchase orders, child nutrition fund purchase orders and payroll, Bond Fund(F31, 32,33, and 35) purchase orders. All purchase orders and payroll were approved by the board of education.
Item C was the consideration of School Rental Requests, the first being that of the rental of Harmon Stadium to the OJF on September 5, 2016. The request was approved. Item G was the discussion, consideration, and vote regarding the renaming of the activity fund designated “Senior Class of 2015” to “Freshman Class of 2019”, which was also approved.
School reports list included the Superintendent’s report, Gifted and Talented report, and a program report for the Okmulgee School Band.
Supt. Williams began the report with a special thanks to Second Baptist Church for providing breakfast for staff and faculty on the first day of school. Williams also gave the preliminary numbers for the first few days of school, stating that the Okmulgee Primary school had 456 children, 314 in the Elementary, 289 in the Middle School, and 403 in the High School, a total of 1,462, a number which is expected to increase in the coming weeks .
Williams also spoke on a new City Grant, Safe Routes. This grant is in the beginning stages and Williams states that the end goal will hopefully be more sidewalks leading to the Okmulgee Schools. Meetings for this grant will begin in the upcoming weeks.
The bond issue that had been passed in March was also touched on, stating that in March the District had zero smart boards. The bond money was used to provide every classroom within Okmulgee Schools a smart board as well as backup bulbs and equipment in the case of burn-outs.
Next up was the report from the Gifted and Talented Summer Program. The elementary program averaged 20-25 children with a focus on science. The group participated in tours of OSUIT, including their prosthetics department and a trip to the Chesapeake oil and natural gas program. During the children’s time at the prosthetic department, the children got to experience the feeling of wearing a prosthesis as well as cast an impression to display how the limbs are modeled. “OSUIT has been very willing to help and provide for our gifted and talented students. We have many students that began with this program in the third grade, have continued with us, and are now in the eighth grade. Trips to OSUIT are part of the reasoning behind that,” states Renee Dove, who also spoke on the middle school gifted and talented program. “There were not as many participants as the elementary program, but we had a steady and consistent group of 7. These children are the future of Okmulgee and we tried to engage them by creating a survey of the oldest businesses in the area, asking them ‘How can we improve Okmulgee?’”.
Rusty Helms, band director of Okmulgee Schools, gave the report on the middle and high school bands. The Okmulgee Band has been upgraded to a 4A in competition and is currently sitting at 80 members in beginning band, 50 in seventh grade, and 40 in the eighth grade band. Instruments that had been sent off to be cleaned have been returned, as have the uniforms that were on loan from Durant. The band will now be using brand new uniforms with a red, black, and white design, with the full band in red and black and the drum major sporting the full white uniform. Helms hopes to debut the uniforms at the first home game of the football season. Uniforms were purchased by the bond funds that were passed in March, as well as the construction of a new state of the art band room. A smart board has been installed in the band room as well and new technology allows students to record themselves and let Helms listen to their progress from home. New instruments were purchased to enhance the band as well provide the children without the means of purchasing a new instrument to still participate in band. It was announced that the 3rd annual BullDog invitational will be held on September 26 at Harmon Stadium. Area bands have been invited to compete in this invitational against the Okmulgee Bulldog band. Helms also announced plans for a trip to Orlando, Florida from April 5-11, that will include Disney World and a trip to Universal Studios.
Next up was the Action Agenda, item 4A, the consideration of accepting and granting transcript credits to students successfully completing academic programs through Green County Technology Center for the 2015-2016 school year. This item as approved by the board, as was item B, the consideration regarding authorization to utilize the 1080 instructional hours option in lieu of the traditional 180 day calendar for 2015-2016, and Item C, an update to support personnel paydays. The update is for support workers who are paid for hourly extra work. These workers will now have 3 days to submit their time sheets and their pay will be received within 10 working days, rather than the end of the month.
The Board discussed utilizing ProvidaStaff as a service contract vendor for Fiscal Year 2016. ProvidaStaff will provide a speech therapist for Okmulgee Schools. Williams stated that this is the first time in eight years that a staffing company would be used as Okmulgee has been successful having qualified applicants for these support positions. This item was passed by the board with all members voting in agreement. Item E was the discussion, consideration, and possible action to consider the services of Barlow and Associate for consultations of school finances and other matters for the FY 2016. Williams recommendation was that a conference call be had with Barlow and Associates to discover the objectives of the company and vote once a proposal was made. The board also voted in favor of this suggestion.
At 6:49, the board voted to enter executive session to discuss multiple items including resignations, coaching and other duties, employment of certified staff, and employment of support staff for the FY 2016. The resignations of Pocahontas Meyer, Marcia Pinkston, Jennifer Mason, and Clayton Vaughn were all accepted. The employment of certified staff, including Michael Crosby, Hillary LeDoux, Aaron Wilson, and Kirk Ruth was also approved. Crosby will be taking the position of OHS Social Studies/World History, LeDoux will be an OPS Second Grade teacher, Wilson will be employed as a teacher in the virtual classroom, and Ruth will be the newest OMS math teacher. Support staff includes Chetoya Johnson for OHS Para/Multi Class and Ivan Pedigo as bus driver.
Item 8 on the agenda was the discussion of new business. It was recommended that FUND 804 be renamed OEF Project Support instead of OHS Youth Alive and FUND 886 be renamed District Leadership Team instead of OHS Flower Fund. The meeting was adjourned at 7:59 p.m.