At the June 5, 2017, Luther School Board meeting, the board approved three items to let Oklahoma County do some work for the district at minimal cost.
Superintendent Barry Gunn said he was contacted by LPS parent and Oklahoma County District One Superintendent Brian Jasper who offered to help the school district with any projects before the county’s budget year runs out.
Gunn and Jasper came up with a list.
- The county will remove a house pad on land purchased on the east side of school property. Mr. Gunn said the county will clean up the lots for now, making it available for extra parking on school event days and for a future purpose. Estimated cost: $10,000 (no cost to LPS)
- The county will clear all of the Cottonwood trees in the park north of the Ag Building at the high school. In last month’s wind storm, several trees fell including one that tore down a power line that put the town in the dark for many hours. Mr. Gunn said those trees have become a nuisance and the county’s help will prevent possible future injury or calamity. Grand total: 70 trees, but only the cottonwoods. Estimated Cost: $16,000 (no cost to LPS).
- Football stadium grounds. The county will do some erosion control work on the hill south of the stadium. The school district must only pay for materials in the amount of $3,500 of the total $7,800 that the county will absorb.
In other action from the meeting, the board approved a trip for the band to travel to Memphis over winter break to participate in a Liberty Bowl Marching Band Experience from December 26 – 29, 2017. The approval is contingent on the band raising the funding. Each student must raise about $500; plus other expenses. Mr. Gunn encourages the fund-raising to cover additional costs for a charter bus and professional driver, if possible. The adventure will include the students marching on Memphis’ famous Beale Street and time to enjoy the city’s rich music history.
The board approved a contract to take care of drug testing, mandatory for bus drivers. And random drug testing of students involved in extra-curricular activities.
The board accepted five resignations of faculty: Lacee Parod, special education aide, elementary; and from the high school, Loralei Gann, Dr. Jessica Sigle, Sandra LaGrande and Virginia Hulsey. Dr. Sigle wrote in her resignation letter read aloud that she has not been unhappy at Luther, but is pursuing a “strategic career move.” Sigle, the science teacher, earned the school a $25,000 science grant last school year.
Although the special education positions in the high school will be replaced, Mr. Gunn said earlier in the meeting that two other vacant teaching positions will not be filled, partly because of funding and partly because lower enrollment means that the instruction duties can be shared.
As for funding, Treasurer Gary Roy reported that through May 25, the district had spent about 73% of its $5 million budget, but since then with more bills paid, the budget expenditures are at 93% as the district enters the last month of the fiscal year. Mr. Gunn said the district saved about $722,000 this school year, and the bulk of that savings was from last year’s Reduction in Force (layoffs).
- Over. After a $20,000 payment from LPS to Arc Architecture to settle a lawsuit, Mr. Gunn reported that the year-long litigation is over.
- Approved. A contract for the district’s legal service with Walta & Walta of Hennessey. Mr. Gunn said, “I didn’t realize in this position how often you talk to an attorney. They are good and thorough. I like her (Phyllis Walta).” The firm, which represented LPS in the ARC lawsuit, charges $250 a month for five hours of work.
- Safety. With the help of Board Member and Highway Patrol officer Tony Rumpl, administrators and faculty have been working on updated safety procedures and emergency policy at each school site. “Nothing is more important than the safety of our children,” said Rumpl.
The board meets again this month, on June 29.