Burlington School talks school safety, hires, accepts resignation

Burlington Board of Education President April Kisling called the May 16 regular monthly meeting with five board members present including Robert Hill, Terry Graham, Lindsay Callison and T.J. Rockenbach. Superintendent Gerrett Spears, Elementary Principal Stan Pedersen and Minutes Clerk Brook Keast were also present.

After the meeting opened, the board toured the new gym and fitness center for approximately an hour to let them see all the updates that were completed before returning to the superintendent's office to conduct business.

Superintendent Spears on School Safety to Awaiting Money for Teacher Pay Raises

As school safety priorities are a top concern across the nation, Superintendent Spears discussed different priorities regarding school safety, both in the classroom and building/facility upgrades at Burlington.

Spears reminded those present that last September Burlington received a School Safety Grant for $92,000 per year for three years. The board discussed and approved items bought with that grant money since that time at board meetings.

Money from the school safety grant is used to cover a list of expenses he presented to the board, including locks for classroom doors, replacing exterior windows, installing vinyl covers on windows (blocking visual from outside the building while allowing staff to see out), along with technological safety upgrades.

Spears said, “Since the board has voted on what to do, those will be the plans. As of now, we are just going with what is needed and approved.”

The board did not vote on any priority but discussed that the windows have been on the list for 15 years and they want those to be replaced before the grant money is gone.

Giving a financial update for the district, Spears said the school still awaits money from the Oklahoma State Department of Education for the teacher pay raises. He hopes to have that money before the June board meeting. He learned that a representative of Targa Resources did reach out to the county assessor's lawyer and offer a settlement. However, the offer was “extremely low” and will not be accepted but does open communication for negotiation.

The last coffee chat was in May and will resume in August. These will begin monthly again when school is back in session. The school will be open normal business hours throughout the summer to ensure projects and reports are complete.

Spears gave an update on improvements happening around the school this summer including painting the little gym; painting outdoor poles; cleaning; striping parking spots; and a new floor in the cooking area of the cafeteria. Talking with the Newsgram Tuesday, Spears was hard to catch and he said, “We are trying to save money and do some projects ourselves, so today, I am pulling up tile!”

Spears will be on stage at the summer CCOSA conference receiving recognition for the school as he was part of the emerging leaders academy that took place throughout the last school year.

Hirings, Resignations and Burlington School Business

Later in the meeting the board entered executive session to discuss the ongoing evaluation of the performance of the superintendent, and employment of a new teacher’s aide and a janitor.

Jeremiah Smith was hired as full-time janitor and maintenance for the 2024-25 school year. Kaci Hughes received board approval as a teacher's aide for 2024-25.

A quote from Haddock for classroom technology was approved, as was a quote from Big Ideas for kindergarten–12th grade math curriculum. Spears said this is getting the school two Promethean boards, one for Title 1 reading and the other as a floating board for school and community activities.

The board accepted Mica Andrew's resignation as library media specialist and ERATE specialist and thank her for her years of service. The board approved signing an application for temporary appropriations, for the 2024-25 school year. They also approved the April Activity Report. Purchase of pipe fencing on the north side of the new gymnasium for parking was tabled. The Consent Agenda was approved. Monthly encumbrances, warrants and change orders were also approved.

The board reviewed and approved unused personal days for certified and non-certified personnel. The approved rate is $40 per day for full-time personnel and $20 for part-time personnel to happen on the May payroll for 10-month employees and the June payroll for 12-month employees.

After discussing the OSSBA Policy CDCC with amendments for the education tax credit, the board approved it.

Spears said all planned school-owned house renovations are complete. One house will be empty on June 30, but it will be occupied by another staff member. Regarding the daycare, Spears said it is in full with a waiting list. The staff will begin working towards STARS IV this summer.

Principal Pedersen Reports on Many Things

Elementary Principal Stan Pedersen said there are five students enrolled in summer remediation, which will be held June 3-13 and taught by Tracy Granados. Summer library hours will be in June and July on Tuesdays from 9 to 11 a.m. The math curriculum selected was Big Ideas and will be ordered for K-12th grades in both digital and text. Pedersen stated he is receiving quotes for other curriculum from teachers for next year. Spears and Pedersen went through the submitted wants and needs for next year for each teacher.

Pedersen will collect information from other schools about their AR programs to get ideas for next year. Spears presented the third and fourth nine-week honor rolls. The summer task list was also presented and included tasks to be completed over the summer by 12-month staff. The old weight room is being updated to be used as Title I space. A draft summer activities list was provided and will be sent out to the public once completed. One high school student will come to summer school. Seven students are enrolled in a driver's education class this summer.

The board held a special meeting April 29 with five board members present: the superintendent, principal and clerk. The board approved payment of Building Fund encumbrances, $74,000, and warrants, $74,000.


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