BOE approves authorization for school bond election; school district bracing for cut in state aid
The Guthrie Board of Education approved a resolution authorizing the calling and holding of a special election, that would build an elementary school in southern Logan County. In addition, the school calendar has been altered after last week’s winter weather.
The school system will look to seek a super-majority (60 percent) approval from voters on May 12 for a series bond issue which is bonds that are voted in an amount that exceeds bonding capacity and issued in a series as bonding capacity becomes available.
The first phase would look to address the district’s most critical items – roofs and the exterior portions of aging school buildings. The second phase would construct a nearly 50,000 square foot elementary school suited for approximately 500 students. The third phase would address other critical needs, including exterior work on the junior high, heating and air units at the high school and technology for the district.
The complete project is estimated at $16.2 million. Related story and video: Guthrie BOE gives the go ahead to prepare school bond election for May 12
Superintendent’s Report: Last day of school now May 22
Supt. Dr. Mike Simpson shared several items in his monthly report, including a change to the school calendar, potential cut to state aid and says education in Oklahoma is at a crisis point.
Simpson shared the final day of school will now be held Friday, May 22 due to exhausting the two built-in snow days last week due to the winter conditions that canceled classes.
Simpson move to the ongoing legislative session that continues in Oklahoma City.
“School districts are being told to brace for a potential cut to state aid for the 2015-16 school year that could be as high as five percent,” Simpson said due to lowering of sales tax collections and lowered income tax numbers from the state level.
“Consequently, at this time, all (state legislative) bills that are aimed at a raise for teachers are considered dormant.”
Simpson, who returned from the National Superintendent’s Conference held last week, said some the highlights of the conference was all states agreed there is too much testing and not all states are experiencing teacher shortages.
“Right now they estimate 800 teaching jobs that are unfilled in this state. Fortunately, we are not in that position in Guthrie,” Simpson said.
“That speaks more, in my opinion, to the salaries than any point in my career. We are at a crisis point with education. Hopefully, we will develop a solution that will allow us to have a better education tomorrow than what we can offer today.”
Recognition: Sophomore of the Year, Sonic gift to Central and Employee’s of the Month
The meeting started with recognition of Katie Dronberger, who was named the Kiwanis Club Sophomore of the Year. Jerry Gammill, Lacy Hoel and H.C. Patel presented Dronberger with a recognition plaque and scholarship money.
Next, Sonic (I-35 and Hwy 33) manager Brian Billings presented Centeral Elementary Principal Dani Watson with their annual $7,000 donation to a Guthrie school building.
Finally, Rusty Crockett, the special education teacher at Cotteral Elementary, was recognized as the Certified Employee of the Month and Janet Ludlow was named the Support Employee of the Month.
Crockett was nominated by kindergarten teacher Carmen Brown while Ludlow was nominated by Guthrie Upper Elementary School’s Kara Walters.
Transportation Department Update
Steve Cordell shared the transportation update with the school board and reported the average route length is nearly two hours.
“One of our goals, of course, is to shorten that,” Cordell said. He is hopeful that will number will decrease with the hiring of 12 new drivers.
Cordell said approximately 2,400 students are transported daily with 34 buses on 29 routes.