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September 19, 2017

The search for a new Superintendent



The Luther School Board outlined a procedure to hire a new superintendent, and evaluated outgoing Superintendent Sheldon Buxton at its January meeting.

The agenda was fairly light and the meeting was straightforward, except for some questioning by Board Member Charles Defuria who boycotted an Executive Session for the purpose of evaluating Dr. Buxton’s performance.

Treasurer Gary Roy’s report showed the district in negative numbers in the general fund by nearly a half million dollars. Ad valorem and other revenue is due soon to help the district catch up on bills.

Roy also shared a budget analysis as of December 31, 2016, available here. His analysis shows that the district has spent 36% of its $5.5 million budget for the current school year. The expenditures on Instruction rests at only 32% for the year, at just more than $1 million. Dr. Buxton said that number is “exactly great” and shows the Reduction in Force is working. “One more year like this should put the district in a healthy position,” said Dr. Buxton while noting there will be different leadership next school year after his June 30 departure.

The district has spent 98% of its Business portion of the budget, and 81% of its Operations/Maintenance budget. Dr. Buxton said adjustments will be made on those items.

Dr. Buxton also reported to the board about the ongoing lawsuit against the district from ARC Architecture in Norman. He said ARC has not responded to the district’s offer, presumably for a settlement. The dispute is over a nearly $18,000 unpaid bill for bid work to fix the auditorium roof. The case is scheduled for a pre-trial conference in Oklahoma County District Court next week on January 18, 2017.

Dr. Buxton also told the Board that the district filed an insurance claim following the second burglary in the AG-ED. Following a $2,500 deductible, the district will receive a claim of about $1300. Both the Ag Barn and the Ag Building were burglarized late last year with equipment, tools and frozen meat stolen.

Principal reports from each building highlighted the end of semester tests at the end of this week, basketball season in full swing, and the fifth grade the academic team doing well.

There was also a report on new state guidelines for testing that will require faculty training.

Board President Matt Mohr outlined his suggested procedure to hire a new Superintendent. The district will utilize complimentary advertising through the Oklahoma State School Board Association’s website and the LPS website. Mohr said four years ago during the last superintendent search that method garnered about 35 applications.  The board agreed to the plan, however, Board Member Charles DeFuria moved that the search process be tabled until after the school board election next month. There was no second and the motion failed. Applicants for the position will inquire using the Board president’s “Luther Lions” email address.

Mohr is on the ballot next month as he seeks a second term on the Luther School Board. Challengers are Tony Rumpl and Gerald McCauley.

The next agenda item was to go into executive session to evaluate the superintendent. DeFuria moved that the evaluation be tabled until after the State Audit is released, expected later this month. Board Member Steve Broudy seconded the motion, but it failed with Mohr, Sherri Anderson and Ray Stanfield voting against the motion.

DeFuria refused to participate in the Executive Session. The four remaining board members met behind closed doors for almost an hour to evaluate Dr. Buxton for his personnel file.

The meeting was broadcast using FB Live (instead of Periscope) and can be watched here.

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