The Luther Public Schools December 14, 2015, school board meeting agenda was posted today. The meeting was touted as the one to take action on immediate budget cuts to align with an anticipated reduction in state funding and other cashflow problems with the school district. Also anticipated on the agenda was discussion of the position of the Dean of Students, however, the agenda indicates that perhaps Dr. Patti Buxton has already resigned.
During the November special board meeting, Superintendent Sheldon Buxton agreed to put the item of the Dean of Students on the agenda. Dr. Patti Buxton is the spouse of the superintendent and her hiring in August was met with community concern, which the superintendent acknowledged at the November Special Meeting.
“It is no mystery to me that my wife’s position in the high school is not received well. I’m not blind to that … inside the building when she comes to work, I think she can tell that it’s not a welcoming environment … if the position is that volatile, that caustic for the purpose to which it was designed, it’s a pointless position,” said Dr. Sheldon Buxton at the November Special Meeting of the School Board.
The December agenda includes items to deal with two resignations: Dr. Aaron Bachoffer and Dr. Patti Buxton. If Dr. Patti Buxton has already resigned as Dean, some are wondering whether she might be named interim high school principal. The agenda calls for the board to go into Executive Session for “discusssion on appointment of interim high school principal.”
The Luther Register has asked for clarification on the issue(s) from the superintendent, and also whether there is a candidate’s list on the interim principal (and athletic director while we’re asking).
Dr. Patti Buxton, hired primarily to address school disciplinary issues, was not at the October board meeting when the superintendent shared a “Nine Weeks Discipline Report” that provided interesting insight into the position and the discipline issues at the high school.
In those first nine weeks on the job, she received 123 referrals with the following breakdown:
- Number of different teachers making referrals: 19
- Number of bus drivers making referrals: 4
- Total number of suspensions: 31
- Number of repeat offenders: 2
- Suspensions for fighting: 6
- Suspension for drugs: 5
- Suspensions for disruption, cussing a teacher, refusal to comply with a teacher request: 12
- Truancy/leaving school without permission: 5
- Theft: 1
During this fall semester, high school Principal Jan Scheffler resigned effective at the end of the year. The board indicated at the November Special meeting that position might not be permanently filled quite yet to save money. So the question – without a principal, or a Dean, who will “be in charge” at the high school without a new hire.
The controversial four-day school week will also be on the agenda. Dr. Sheldon Buxton had proposed closing school on Mondays beginning next semester as a cost-saving measure. Many school districts in the state have gone to this method, which has brought strong criticism from State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister who told The Tulsa World last month that the shortened school week will not save the money that school boards think it will.
The meeting is Monday night, December 14, 2015, at 6:30 pm. The Luther Register (if it can get its technology act together in time) will attempt to livestream the meeting, and will send out the link as soon as possible.