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Cherokee hires superintendent

The Cherokee Public School Special Board Meeting was called to order at 7 p.m., January 11 by Board President Kory Littlefield.

Following the Pledge of Allegiance and invocation, Bryce Schanbacher recognized the Board of Education for School Board Appreciation Month with certificates for each member.

During discussion regarding the items on the consent agenda, Schanbacher pointed out that the General Fund had a negative balance on December 31, 2020. Although the balance is currently positive, it is not where the school would like it to be. No purchase orders will be approved until further notice. Kurtis Goodwin made a motion, seconded by Littlefield, to approve the items listed below on the consent agenda. The motion passed.

A. Minutes of the December 14, 2020, Special Board Meeting

B. General Fund and Child Nutrition Fund encumbrances, purchase orders and warrants

C. Treasurer’s Report

D. Activity Fund Report

E. Resignations of Donna Anderson and Charles Anderson

Elementary Principal Ruth Richmond reported that all teachers received CPR training during the in-service day on January 4; another in-service day is scheduled for January 22.

Junior/Senior High School Principal Jeremy Hickman reported that last weekend’s basketball tournament went well, with the girls winning Champion and the boys winning Runner Up. The annual trophy auction will be held on January 13 at the Fairgrounds. The music department has received a generous donation from the Reitz family. Basketball Homecoming is set for January 29.

Littlefield made a motion, seconded by Desiree Gibson, to move into Executive Session to discuss the hiring of a new Superintendent, including salary, contract, and extra duty so the Board can return to open session and vote on said employment. The motion passed, and the Board entered into Executive Session at 7:09 p.m.

At 8:15 pm, Amber Wilhite made a motion to return to open session; the motion was seconded by Littlefield, and the motion passed. Wilhite reported the minutes of Executive Session. Littlefield made a motion, seconded by Gibson, to approve the employment including salary and contract of Bryce Schanbacher as Superintendent of Cherokee Public Schools. The motion passed.

Schanbacher proposed one change to the current health protocols and policy related to COVID-19, asking that school administration have the ability to control extra-curricular activities during school closure. He stated that it is important to provide students with as many opportunities as possible, in spite of closures. Wilhite made a motion to allow administration to decide on a case-to-case basis whether or not to hold activities during school closures. Littlefield seconded the motion.

During the roll-call vote, Gibson and Goodwin voted no, and Wilhite, Littlefield and Shane Parker voted yes; the motion passed.

The Superintendent’s Report was presented by Schanbacher. Mr. Schanbacher touched on the following topics:

• The State Department of Health has implemented a mechanism for schools to report cases of COVID-19. This will be in addition to the reports to the Department of Education, and will create an increased workload for school administration

• Governor Stitt’s requirement to limit attendance at school activities will expire on January 13; we will make changes to our attendance allowance based on further action taken by Gov. Stitt.

• Cherokee schools will receive another round of CARES II money soon. We are expecting a total of $171,000, which will help us get through the end of the year.

• Mr. Schanbacher will be meeting with school principals to set the calendar for school year 2021-2022. He should have a calendar to present at next month’s meeting.

• All staff have received a survey regarding their intentions to either retire or return next year. Surveys are due on January 26. Responses will help in determining future budgetary decisions.

• Schanbacher will be meeting with various financial institutions for advice on how to improve our situation.

• Schanbacher commended all maintenance staff on how well they are sanitizing the school in general and the gymnasium specifically. He reported that he has received very positive feedback from tournament attendees regarding the level of cleanliness of the facilities.

• Schanbacher hopes to be able to report on the current status of the Lease/Purchase agreement at the next meeting. He is still exploring options.

• Schanbacher thanked the Board for their confidence in him, saying that he is excited about making sure that decisions are made in the best interest of students and the community.

There being no new business, Littlefield made a motion to adjourn. The motion was seconded by Gibson. The motion passed, and the meeting was adjourned at 8:26 p.m.

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