Alva Review-Courier -

Freedom school board discusses another bond election attempt

 

October 16, 2019



Another attempt at a bond election was the primary topic at the Freedom School Board regular monthly meeting Monday evening, Oct. 14.

Weber included a report from the last attempt at a bond election, which failed, and several other documents related to the effort.

The last bond election put two proposed bonds before the public – two, rather than one, on the advice of attorneys, even though having two propositions was twice as expensive. Judging by results distributed at the meeting, the vote on the last bond election was neck and neck. Proposition 1 garnered 90 Yes votes and 88 No votes, while Proposition 2 brought 88 Yes votes and 90 No votes.

“We need to discuss where we would like to go from this point forward,” Weber told the board.

The next opportunity to have a bond election is on April 7. To have the election on that day, the board must “call” it by Feb. 4.

Oklahoma has a fairly short list of official election dates. Various kinds of elections occur on various of those dates. The April 7 election date is for “Board of Education General Elections/Special Elections.”

The board agreed that they'd prefer to have both matters in one proposition. Weber suggested that communications with Freedom voters (such as advertisements) should not just list what the school wants to do, but also list why.

Board members also expressed dissatisfaction with the legal organizations that took over the show and controlled every aspect of the bond election, soup to nuts.

“They won't allow us to do anything, and that's where I have a big problem with them,” said Shan Wilson. “We wanted everything listed on the pamphlets that went out, but it didn't get done that way. And we talked about not running the bond as two separate (propositions), but they told us we had to.” For example, he said, when the pamphlets were sent out, the school needs were listed in language that conveyed very little. “Like it said we're gonna pay for the “existing fixtures,” and stuff like that – I never heard that come out of our mouths. And I was, okay, explain that, what is that. That's what people want to know. What are the fixtures? What are the existing … I mean, what does that mean?”

Wilson went on. “They (lawyers) came in on the first one (bond election) and said, 'This is what we do for a living; this is how it needs to be.' Then they came back in and told us that on the second one. Well, when are we gonna start doing it our way?”

“We can write it how we want it,” said Weber emphatically, “and I will tell them that is how we want it in the paper.”

“Okay,” said Wilson with the hint of a growl in his voice.

The last day to register to vote in the bond election would be March 13.

Shelite Details Fall Carnival, Veterans Day Plans

Principal Michelle Shelite updated the board on school activities.

“We are real close to being finished with cross country,” said Shelite. “We have the junior high state cross country meet coming up on Oct. 17. We had one team member qualify for that, and that's Shay Wilson. And then on the 26th they will all be going to Northwestern for the 5K fun run there.”

The Fall Carnival will be Oct. 26, with dinner beginning at 5:30 and games starting at 7 p.m. The Fall Carnival will be held at the Legion, Shelite said.

Red Ribbon Week, which centers around educating kids about bullying and drug use, will be Oct. 28 through Nov. 1, she said.

The Veterans Day assembly is planned for Nov. 11 “as usual,” Shelite said, and expressed the hope that it would not be canceled due to bad winter weather, as happened last year.

Personnel Contracts Adjusted

The board approved appointing Head Coach Austin Beene athletic director as well, and approved the contract that gives the position a $1,500 stipend.

“This was tabled last month, and after talking with legal counsel, we can have our coach also be athletic director,” said Weber, “and since he's the one who's been scheduling the games and all that, I believe he should be the athletic director.”

Beene was the topic of another agenda item. Because this is his first year as a teacher, the school is required to have a residency committee to advise him during his first year, Weber said. The board approved designating teacher Darci Immell, Principal Shelite and Superintendent Weber as the residency committee for certified resident teacher Austin Beene.

Another new teacher, David Smith, was also assigned a residency committee at the meeting, comprised of Marlo Smith, Shelite and Weber. The board also approved an amended contract for David Turner to include the previously approved $1,220 pay raise for full-time certified staff.

School Board Election Feb. 11 to Fill Seat 5

The board approved a resolution to call an election to fill Seat 5, currently held by Board President Shane Morris, whose term will have ended. The seat carries a five-year term of office.

The election will be held Tuesday, Feb. 11. If a run-off is needed because no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, that runoff election will be held Tuesday, April 7.

To be eligible for election, candidates must have lived in and been a registered voter in the school district for at least six months, and have a high school diploma or certificate of equivalency. People who've been convicted of a felony or of anything involving embezzlement within the past 15 years can't be elected. Other conditions also apply.

Those interested in being a candidate for Seat 5 may file at the Woods County Election Board between Dec. 2 and Dec. 4.

OSSBA Comes to Freedom to Train Board

Superintendent Bryant Weber told the board that the Oklahoma State School Board Association Conference will be held at Freedom on Oct. 24. It begins at 5:30 p.m. in the cafeteria, Weber said.

The conference will cover two main topics. At 5:30 the board will learn about trauma and forum leadership, and at 6:30 the topic will be school funding and visionary leadership.

“All the board members are signed up to be here,” said Weber.

Other Business

The board approved establishing a new bank account as a result of having to close their previous account due to fraudulent charges posted in mid-September. The fraudulent activity had nothing to do with school personnel, Weber said, but just happened to impact the school's BancCentral account.

Also approved was the 2020 school board meeting schedule. Most meetings will be the second Monday of the month, as usual, but Weber changed two meeting dates: those for April and August. “The April meeting lands on the Monday directly after Easter so I moved it to the first Monday,” he said. Weber also moved the August meeting date to the first Monday to avoid conflicting with all the activity leading up to the rodeo.

The board approved the consent agenda, which consisted of the minutes of past meetings; the treasurer's report; encumbrances and warrants for the general, building and child nutrition funds; activity fund expenditures and an updated 2019-20 school calendar.

All board members were present – Shan Wilson (deputy clerk), Phil Kirkpatrick (vice-president), Robert Babcock (member), Russell Reed (clerk), and Shane Morris (president) – in addition to Superintendent Weber, Principal Shelite, and Minutes Clerk Patricia Dauphin.

 

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