Alva School Board hires new first grade teacher
July 2, 2023
In a meeting held Wednesday, the Alva Board of Education approved hiring Morgan Graybill as a new first grade teacher at Washington Early Childhood Center. Graybill has previous teaching experience in Beggs. After marriage, she has been working in Alva since October. Washington Principal Madison Williams introduced Graybill to the board. Superintendent Tim Argo said he was pleased that Graybill applied for the position, especially since it has been difficult to get applicants for teaching jobs.
In addition, three non-certified staff members were hired. Kassady Dietz was contracted for a ten-month secretarial position at Alva Middle School. Sherri Hollens was hired as a paraprofessional for next school year, and Cheyenne Vasquez was signed on as a paraprofessional for Washington School.
Supt. Argo announced the resignation of Gretchen Jones who has been the head coach for middle school girls’ basketball. She has accepted a position at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
Board members present for the end of the fiscal year meeting were Jane McDermott, Shane Hansen, Karen Koehn and Larry Parker. Kevin Pingelton was absent.
Supt. Argo presented a report on the strategic plan meeting with the architect. Topics discussed at Lincoln School were sinking in the library and patio with drainage and leaks down the wall to the basement. To keep Lincoln Elementary, they discussed demolition of the hill and just keeping the bottom two levels with a build out to the east.
At Washington Elementary, they discussed adding second grade students with the addition of four classrooms, a music room, a counseling office, and an administrative office. Also considered with possible need for additional cafeteria space, additional gym space and additional parking added.
At Longfellow Elementary, there was discussion about adding four classrooms to include 4th and 5th grade. Other additions would be a music room, counseling office, and administrative office. They also considered additional space in the cafeteria and gym as well as additional parking and multiple drop offs.
At the high school, they looked at adding an indoor hitting facility and women’s locker room to the indoor athletic facility.
Board members were provided reports for the activity fund accounts. Argo pointed out two new accounts. The Goldbug Education Coalition has an account set up now so that donations will be tax deductible. Another new account is for the Senior 2029 students. Now in seventh grade, these students receive leftover funds from the Class of 2022. Argo said the activity account for graduating seniors is held open for a year to make sure all purchase orders are handled. Then the remaining money is transferred to the seventh grade class.
The board approved the investment resolution for FY24 which states that the Woods County Treasurer will handle investment of school district funds.
The extended school year services for July 5-Aug. 4 were approved for the same personnel as approved for June. Argo explained the two months are handled in separate actions since they fall in different fiscal years.
Four contracts were approved for FY24. Circle H, LLC was approved to provide cleaning services for Lincoln School, Alva High School and the indoor athletic facility. The Oklahoma Schools Assurance Group workers’ compensation insurance was approved.
Bobby Young, agent, attended the board meeting to talk about options for the Oklahoma Schools Insurance Group (OSIG) workers’ compensation insurance. Young said the increase in the cost of the policy is due to a lot of storm damage in the state. OSAG uses contracts with reinsurers and one day before they signed contracts, the Shawnee tornado occurred. He said damage from that tornado was $30 million. This resulted in a rate increase of 25 percent on average. “We really need a couple of good weather years,” Young said. The loss ratio can’t be over 65 percent for insurers to break even, said Young, and we’re at 250 percent. OSIG right now has enough surplus to survive.
The Alva school district has been insured with a small deductible of $10,000 for wind and hail, Young said. He said a deductible of $25,000 would save about $24,000 a year on the property insurance. A deductible of $50,000 would save approximately $31,000 a year.
McDermott, who is an insurance agent, had several questions about the Alva schools’ 52 percent loss radio and the possibility of a self-insurance fund. Argo said the fire in the art room was one of the reasons for the high loss ratio. McDermott asked if Young was aware of any schools having a self-insurance fund, and he said he didn’t know of anyone.
Both McDermott and Argo indicated they were unhappy with loss estimates on district building roofs by the insurance company’s adjustor. Young said he would check into it.
Argo recommended keeping the wind and hail deductible the same this year. He’d like some time to study the effects of the options suggested. The board approved the policy for FY24 as presented.
Also approved was the contract with Going Places Occupational Therapy Services, P.L.L.C. For several years, Jana Hickman has provided services to the school through this contract.
The superintendent provided the quarterly update as required for board policy FE. This concerns the school’s classroom capacities and student transfers from other districts.
An executive session was held with the school board’s attorney meeting with them in person. Only board members and the attorney attended the private session. Following the return to open session, the board continued with the agenda.
In a motion made by Koehn, the board approved authorizing the district’s attorney to develop a policy for consideration by the Policy Committee at the July 2023 board meeting addressing the process and procedures to be followed when a complaint is made by or on behalf of a student whose parent is an administrator or supervisor of the employee against whom the complaint is made.
The board voted to direct the superintendent to research and present to the board for its consideration, by the August 2023 board meeting, a list of qualified speakers to educate students on the dangers and appropriate uses of social media, as well as social media’s effects on student health and the educational environment.
In addition, the board directed the superintendent to research and present to the board for its consideration, by the August 2023 board meeting, a list of qualified speakers who are familiar with unique needs of talented students and who can offer suggestions, strategies and advice to those students’ parents.