Freedom Public School closes campus for lunch
August 15, 2018
The Freedom Board of Education met Monday night and kicked off the meeting by accepting the resignation of Board Vice-President Donald Simmons. Simmons’ exit from the school district resulted in an empty seat at the table, but all other members of the board were present. On the consent agenda, items of a routine nature (previous board minutes, treasurer’s report, encumbrance approval, etc.) were approved, but after moving on to the next order of business, Board Clerk Shan Wilson, still scanning the consent agenda documents, asked to go back to a line item he may have possibly overlooked.
That item called for possible action to adopt a policy regarding medical marijuana. The policy outlines specifics on marijuana use by students on school grounds and details the restrictions on school employees.
Wilson expressed his disdain, “I made a mistake on that. I didn’t want to vote for that at all.” He requested the item be tabled. “I’d like to talk to our attorneys. I don’t like that at all.”
The superintendent, James Miller, explained to Wilson that the policy was issued by OSSBA (Oklahoma State School Boards Association).
“Well, I’d like to check it out myself. I don’t like anything about it,” Wilson said. “Everybody will have a medical card before it’s all said and done. Everybody’s self-medicating anyway.”
Deputy Clerk Robert Babcock said he thinks the policy should work the way its written, and emphasized that medical marijuana will not be administered by smoking, which he considered a positive.
Wilson finished, “I just can’t believe we’re talking about marijuana in school. It makes no sense.”
A motion by Board President Shane Morris was made to rescind the approval of the consent agenda in order to motion the removal of the medical marijuana policy line item. The line item was then tabled for further review, and the amended consent agenda approved.
Superintendent Miller took the floor to give his report, beginning with talks on State Question (SQ) 801, which will appear on the November ballot. This SQ deals with public school funding and if approved by voters, the measure would allow local school districts to use property tax revenue (now used primarily for building funds) for operational costs such as teacher pay. The proposition gives schools the flexibility to use existing property tax funds in the classroom without raising taxes, according to the governor’s office. Miller said he liked the idea of that flexibility, but said proper management would be key. He went on to talk about a few other items, including the completion of summer maintenance projects and to let board members know they were all registered for the upcoming OSSBA Conference.
Principal Michelle Shelite was next to give her report and said that in-service started for professional development, and spoke about an active shooter presentation that was given that will help staff recognize potential threats and what to do should such an event take place.
Summer school offered four classes and Shelite said it all went very smoothly. She finished with updates on online professional development through OPSRC (Oklahoma Public School Resource Center) and other teacher training regarding NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) benchmarks.
In other items, Superintendent Miller spoke on the school’s full accreditation and a safety equipment grant from OSAG. The 2018-2019 student handbook was approved along with FY 2019 fundraiser requests. A very brief discussion was held regarding the closing of the campus at lunchtime. All members were in agreement and approved the closing.
Members then approved the purchasing of the Type to Learn program.
Renovation of the ag building was discussed, and Miller expressed his interest in painting and making it look nice. Members then discussed and approved purchasing an AP bundle for wireless access points before approving Freida Burgess as an alternate authorized representative for federal programs. The superintendent asked members to approve an increase the spending limit on the purchasing card with Prosperity Bank. A motion was made and approved.
Brook Meyer was approved as adjunct instructor for anatomy and physiology for the 2018-2019 school year, as was Sheila Glover’s contract for special education.
Members of the board approved extra duty contracts and then convened in executive session to evaluate the superintendent where no action was taken.