The Luther School Board met in Executive Session at its November 7, 2016, meeting to consider options regarding a lawsuit filed against the district over a bill on the auditorium roof. ARC Architecture of Norman sued the district back in April over a $17,000 bill on bid work to fix the leaky roof.
Superintendent Sheldon Buxton told the Board that he did not know he was obligating the district to pay the bill pending the outcome of the 2015 failed bond election. ARC, however, submitted a signed contract as part of its lawsuit.
The board met with its attorney for about 40 minutes behind closed doors. In open session, they reported they would go forward with a counter offer to a reported settlement offer. If not resolved, the case is scheduled to go to court in January.
All in all, the November board meeting had some bright spots, noticeable after a year of tension and serious financial concerns. Not that the budget numbers are any better, but school must go on; and it is.
- Treasurer Gary Roy shared the district had total cash available of $72,306 as of October 31. The low number is an indication that the district might need a bank loan to meet payroll and other obligations before ad valorem and state money comes in toward the end of this calendar year.
- Dr, Buxton addressed the recent “grades” the district received from OSDE, particularly the high school’s lower grade of a “D” after last year’s “B-.” He noted the grading system will change at the state level after this year, but still recognizes more work can be done to help the students at the lower end of the grading scale when it comes to science, math and English. Goals include more tutoring services, and offering more advanced coursework.
- Regarding school safety. There was a sobering discussion about securing a campus in the face of various scenarios. Look for future discussions and action about securing and centralizing all entrances to each building, training personnel, and coordinating communication with Luther police and fire.
- Elementary Principal Sheila Wilson, in her report, thanked parents and her teachers for their support and hard work on the recent school carnival which raised about $300 for each classroom. She noted that other fund-raisers are ongoing, but said that giving is down overall. She reported a “huge turnout” for Parent Teacher Conferences, and on her school’s report card of a grade “B,” she praised her teachers for “meeting the needs of our children. I am proud of their efforts.”
- Middle School Principal Barry Gunn said his school was shooting for a “B” on this year’s report card, but was well-pleased and proud of the improvement in earning a “C+” from last year’s “C-.” They continue to work on science, math and reading scores while helping the students who need the most help. Also, the eighth and seventh graders are getting a look at what their future could be after high school with field trips to Oklahoma Baptist University and Rose State College.
- High School Principal Jerry Martin said during his first semester he is spending time observing in the classroom and is impressed with what he sees including some robotics work in Mr. Bishop’s class. He mentioned the great season of the football team, the beginning of basketball season, an academic team doing well, and the skeet shooters participating in State competition. Students have participated in college visits to Langston University and Oklahoma City Community College. Also an ACT workshop is coming up and a FAFSA info night for parents.
In other board action:
- Approved: annual school board election, Tuesday, February 14, 2017. Filing December 5 – 7, 2016, at the Oklahoma County Election Board. It’s the seat currently held by Board President Matt Mohr, who assures The Luther Register that he will announce whether he intends to run for re-election.
- Approved: a contract with A Bright Tomorrow Counseling Service. By the way, A Bright Tomorrow provides its counseling work pro bono, as a service to their hometown. “The school is blessed by this service,” said Dr. Buxton.
- Approved: 2016-2017 Budget based on Estimate of Needs, $5,529,791 (a $42,000 drop from last year’s budget).
Meantime, the State Audit of the school district is ongoing. It was this time a year ago, that citizens signed a petition asking for the investigative probe.