Alva Review-Courier -

Planning for resources to meet the Alva school district needs

 

October 9, 2019

Marione Martin

Dr. Kay Decker (left) and Gena Denton update the Alva School Board Monday on implementation of the strategic plan.

During the Alva Board of Education meeting Monday, Dr. Kay Decker and Gena Denton gave an update on the Resources Committee area of the strategic plan.

Denton said major areas implemented in the last quarter include prioritizing facility improvement projects, establishing transportation and technology committees and setting up a communication plan by administrators to inform the community and the school board.

Decker added more detail. The facilities committee project areas identified include the art room, the locker room and public restrooms at the high school, the track and field area at the high school, the ventilation and cooling systems in the high school gym, parking in the north parking lot of the high school, improving drainage at the ag farm and making improvements to the softball field and the Crenshaw Field concession.

A technology committee, chaired by IT Director Kaitlyn Bouziden, has been established. Decker said the committee will be meeting this winter to review the district's technology plan, perform an assessment of technology and the structure across the district, and assess the number of software programs currently being used in the district.

The transportation committee, chaired by Steve Ellis, transportation director, will work this winter to plan for transportation safety issues and a five year transportation rotation renewal plan for district vehicles.

Denton said part of the plan is communication with the school board by reports like this one during the monthly meetings. Principals are also holding forums on rotation each month to detail the action steps, and the superintendent has discussed the strategic plan steps on his radio show.

Another action step is to provide monthly updates on expenditures related to the strategic plan areas and objectives, said Decker.

The next action step is to develop an annual budget aligned to the strategic plan goal, the area objectives that include resources needed. "It will be important in an online academy or maybe an after school program which are going to be investigated in the coming months, how these action steps could be funded; and also if we continue to see a decrease in our estimation of needs it's going to be important to look at alternate funding like grants or other methods to fund these programs," said Denton.

Decker said one item in the plan was delayed, a full assessment of all physical plant buildings across the district. That had to wait a little while for the Oklahoma State Board of Education to get the assessment tool completed. It is currently being used to evaluate all the buildings.

"The building assessment tool is a standard tool used statewide so it's going to allow the district, I think, to compare apples to apples; to make sure decisions that are based on what's good for a four-year-old might not be best for a 15-year-old," she said.

Superintendent Tim Argo asked the women to describe how they see the strategic plan process and what they hope to see in the future.

"I thought it was really interesting to see how many different viewpoints there were from all the different areas," said Denton. But she said it became clear everyone had the same focus. Because the process is spread over five years, she said it will be easy to implement. From the viewpoint of the school employ "we can do this. It's not so much at one time."

"My biggest thing was that with all the viewpoints how everyone has the same goals for Alva Schools," Denton concluded.

"My perspective as a taxpayer, as a grandparent of three kids in the Alva school district, I appreciate the commitment level of staff, faculty, administration to engage in this comprehensive planning process," said Decker. "I think that for any school district to embrace the future needs of learning and the public and fulfill those accountability expectations, you have to have a plan in place. This is comprehensive, but at the same time it's not so overwhelming. At least it doesn't appear to be. It's doable and sets the stage for a continuous plan of improvement. Once you finish this, you should continue."

Personnel

Superintendent Argo informed the board of the resignation of Starlet James who is moving on to another employment opportunity. The board approved hiring Kandy Anderson as a paraprofessional at Alva Middle School to replace James. They also approved the employment of Ty Hooper as a paraprofessional to work with a newly enrolled student.

Other Business

Board members present for Monday's meeting were Jane McDermott, Karen Koehn, Larry Parker, Tiffany Slater and Shane Hansen.

The board approved using hours instead of days for the school year. Argo said this will allow flexibility when dealing with inclement weather.

Argo went through a 39 page budget book prepared by office staff for the board. It included helpful descriptions to identify the function of each line item. Slater said it was the best budget document she had seen and commended the staff on the book.

The board approved out of state travel by the high school baseball team and Coach Baugh to attend an invitational tournament in Phoenix, Arizona, March 14-21, 2020.

A district gifted educational plan was approved. Argo said this was a big component of the strategic plan. The gifted program committee has begun looking at different options to test students who might qualify for accelerated programs.

Approved for the current school year's District Teacher Residency Committee were Kaye Christensen, Crystal Clapp, Sara Eckhardt, Kiley Feely, Tiffany Mata, Kendi Wooten, Keli Woods, Dawn Self-Hill, Kandee Almgren and Tim Argo. Supt. Argo said this committee is required for accreditation. The committee sets up regular meetings and training for mentor teachers. They are also reviewing the mentor teacher checklist which is now three or four years old.

Another state requirement, an alternate education waiver allowing the district to serve fewer than ten alternate education students, was approved. Argo said currently the district has fewer than ten students in the program, but that number will probably increase further into the school year.

The board was also presented with the AEA contract agreed upon in negotiations, and it was approved.

Financial

One of the major revenue components for the Alva school district is the gross production tax on oil and gas. Argo told the board the figure for September 2019 is $227,000 less than last September.

Two activity funds showed increases. The FFA account increased with funds from the Blue & Gold sausage sales. The middle school vocal fund grew from a cookie dough fundraiser. There was also a transfer from football to track from the sale of gold cards. Argo said that is a joint fundraiser so the resulting funds were split between the two accounts.

The superintendent explained several of the purchase orders in the general fund. Washington Elementary had to replace their intercom system which cost $3,500. Banc Central installed some additional security cameras for indoor facilities for $2,823. A sinkhole developed near one of the playground toys at Longfellow Elementary so $3,000 was spent on dirt work and concrete to fill in the area.

Due to the number of kindergarten students, the district had to add another class. This required spending $3,114 on additional textbooks from McGraw Hill. Learning A to Z, a software reading program, was purchased for $4,757. Argo said it is used for all the elementary grades.

Mac Books were purchased for $6,592 for speech and debate. In the old days, debaters hauled around boxes of paper files for their debate notes. Now everything is digital, and the district's Chromebooks don't have enough memory for the files.

 

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