Cherokee School Board expresses sorrow, prayers for the late Don Bowman's family


January 16, 2019

The Cherokee Board of Education met Tuesday evening, Jan.8, to discuss school matters. Pictured are (left to right, clockwise around room) Board Clerk Amber Wilhite, Elementary Principal Ruth Richmond, Board Treasurer Amantha Sanborn, Kyle Spade of the Cherokee Messenger and Republican, Board President Kory Littlefield, Board Member Shane Parker and Superintendent Donna Anderson (back to camera).

The Cherokee School Board's special board meeting Tuesday, Jan. 8, replaced the regular meeting that would have been held Jan. 7 but was canceled. Present at the meeting were Board President Kory Littlefield, Board Treasurer Amantha Sanborn, Board Member Shane Parker, Board Clerk Amber Wilhite, Elementary Principal Ruth Richmond and Superintendent Donna Anderson.

After determining a quorum, the board stood to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and then bowed their heads in prayer, asking God to "continue to be with the Bowman family, as they're going through a hard time right now." Donald Bowman, Cherokee's city manager from 2009 to Nov. 2018, passed away Jan. 4. Both of his children – Heather Gottsch and Tanner Bowman – are employed at Cherokee Public Schools.

Superintendent Thanks School Board

Superintendent Donna Anderson expressed her appreciation to the board for their work.

"January is school board appreciation month," she said, "and I want you all to know how great a job that I feel like is done with what you do here. So many of our employees say thank you for the things that you do, like the Christmas stipends; and their consistency in feeling good about their jobs, that starts right here in this board room. I appreciate you all a lot. After four years of construction and building and roofs, you've just been so gracious and enabled me to do my job, and I really appreciate you."

Before the meeting began, Anderson had placed an item wrapped in plastic next to each board member seat at the table.

"As a token of my appreciation ... (Anderson held up a similar item) ... they're the jackets that coaches get for tournaments. Once again, thank you all and thank you for what you do for the kids here in our school, because there's pretty good stuff going on."

Financial Issues Discussed Briefly

The board then turned to the consent agenda, which was comprised of the Dec. 11 meeting minutes; encumbrances, purchase orders, balances and warrants for the General, Child Nutrition, and Building funds; the treasurer's report; and the Activity Fund report.

December 2018 Fund Balances

Fund Beg. Balance Receipts Total Cash Checks Issued End Balance

General Fund $2,684,121.15 $422,998.77 $3,107,119.92 $509,873.36 $2,597,246.56

Building Fund $61,302.28 $1,644.22 $62,946.5 $36,026.41 $26,920.09

Child Nutrition Fund -$2,486.41 $13,284.69 $10,798.28 $468.96 $10,329.32

Roof Bond Fund $851,107.7 $0 $0 $0 $851,107.7

Sinking Fund $427,701.42 $5,519.42 $433,220.84 $0 $433,220.84

The only discussion involved prior to voting on the consent agenda came from Superintendent Anderson, who raised a couple points on finances.

"January's our month for the local tax money to come in, so we don't have to play catch up for the rest of the year," she said. "We do have a gas company that's contested their taxes. I had a talk with the county assessor to find out where they are in that process, and they have a trial date but they haven't gone yet, so we're not really sure what the outcome will be. In the event that they have to pay their taxes – which normally they do get told to pay their taxes – then what happens is we don't get it this month, we get it in a couple, three months.

"Other than that, we've done a little bit of work on the parking lot [...] so it is nice to have those holes filled in. And we do appreciate the county on that, too, because they provide a lot of help for that kind of thing."

After that, the board voted to approve the consent agenda.

Lording Hired for 3-Year-Old Student Program

The board then went into executive session to discuss employment issues. After their return, they voted to employ Debra Lording on a temporary certified contract for the remaining 2018/2019 school year. Lording will teach the 3-year-old students.

Elementary Principal Ruth Richmond mentioned after the meeting that Lording was a little taken aback by the word "temporary" in the agenda item, but Superintendent Anderson said it was purely routine, and didn't mean they were only hiring her temporarily.

The board also voted to approve amending the high school administrative assistant's contract to increase it to an 11-month contract "with a salary that covers the additional time and duties," as Superintendent Anderson phrased it.

Principal Richmond: Semester Grades Issued

Ruth Richmond, elementary school principal, reported that grades have been issued.

"We sent our semester grades home today with our students, so we'll be hearing from parents tomorrow," she said, smiling. "I think everybody's doing great. And we ended up with seven new students from Christmas break. We lost eight and gained seven, so we're at 233. That's counting all my 3-year-olds. There are 17 3-year-olds."

"Wow!" said Anderson. "Actually, I think 3-year-olds should be counted twice."

Everyone in the room laughed. "They run around so fast you can count them three times," agreed Board President Kory Littlefield.

Richmond went on to report that preparations for the Cherokee High School Tournament (held last weekend) were underway. In addition, all elementary and high school staff will be trained to do CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on Friday, Jan. 25.

Superintendent Anderson Expresses Sorrow, Support, for Bowman Family

One major leak has yet to be fixed in the new roof, said Anderson, adding that it's "just about finished."

She praised some of the students – without naming them – who are accomplishing extraordinary things, such as one who is up for an office with State FCCLA.

Then she turned to more personal matters.

"I want to say how brokenhearted we are for Heather Gottch and Tanner Bowman," she said. Heather Gottch is the school's FCCLA teacher and Tanner Bowman is the assistant coach. "Don (Bowman, their father) was a very pivotal part of our town for quite a while, and a good man. We sure send our prayers out to them."

The individuals in the room expressed their agreement.

Then, as no new business was introduced, the meeting adjourned.


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