Cherokee BOE discusses principals

School Board President Kory Littlefield led the Pledge of Allegiance and the prayer, and then called the Cherokee School Board meeting to order at 7:00 p.m., March 8.

Amber Wilhite made a motion to approve the minutes of the February 8, 2021 regular board meeting; Desiree Gibson seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.

Superintendent Bryce Schanbacher reviewed General Fund encumbrances, purchase orders and warrants. He noted that the final payment of $30,372.00 for the newest school bus was made in February. Rental contracts on the two portable buildings will expire in May and October, and will not be renewed. Wilhite made a motion to approve the General Fund encumbrances, purchase orders and warrants, and Gibson seconded the motion. The motion was approved.

Littlefield made a motion to approve the Building Fund encumbrances, purchase orders and warrants, and Goodwin seconded the motion. The motion was approved.

Littlefield made a motion to approve the Child Nutrition Fund encumbrances, purchase orders and warrants, and Goodwin seconded the motion. The motion was approved.

Superintendent Schanbacher noted that the Activity Fund lost revenues due to COVID-19. Wilhite made a motion to approve Activity Fund Reports, and Gibson seconded the motion. The reports were approved.

Littlefield made a motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report, and Gibson seconded the motion. The Treasurer’s Report was approved.

Wilhite made a motion to approve the transfer of funds totaling $3,780.00 from the General Athletic account to the boys’ and girls’ basketball accounts ($1,870.00 each), and Littlefield seconded the motion. The transfer of funds was approved.

The FCCLA has requested approval to travel to Nashville, TN for the National FCCLA Convention; Mrs. Gottsch expects several students to qualify for the trip. Littlefield made a motion to approve the out-of-state travel, and Goodwin seconded the motion. The proposed travel was approved.

The Softball Program has submitted a request to sell coffee and popcorn, and the Football Program has requested approval to host a High School Team Camp. Wilhite made a motion to approve both fundraising requests, and Gibson seconded the motion. Both requests were approved.

Superintendent Schanbacher recommended that the Board approve the renewal of the contract with ADPC for the 21-22 school year; ADPC supplies the accounting software used by the school. Goodwin made a motion to approve the contract, and Gibson seconded the motion. The motion was approved.

Superintendent Schanbacher recommended that the Board approve the renewal of the contract with OKTLE for the 21-22 school year; OKTLE is the online tool used to evaluate teachers, and is essentially the only option available. Littlefield made a motion to approve the renewal of the contract, and Gibson seconded the motion. The motion was approved.

Tanner Bowman has been teaching one hour of physics, but the proper paperwork has not been approved and submitted. Wilhite made a motion to formally name Mr. Bowman as an adjunct teacher for one hour of physics for the 20-21 school year, and Littlefield seconded the motion. The motion was approved.

Superintendent Schanbacher discussed the current school health protocols. He stated that the school has only had two positive COVID cases since the last Board meeting, and recommended that the mask mandate be amended to allow personal choice in the matter. He said that doing so would improve morale, and that most activities for the rest of the school year will be outside. Goodwin made a motion to amend the health protocols, and Gibson seconded the motion. The motion passed.

Ruth Richmond reported that the elementary school will be holding parent-teacher conferences on Wednesday and Thursday, March 10-11. State testing will start on April 6.

Jeremy Hickman reported that seniors are filling out scholarship applications and finalizing plan for after graduation. Underclassmen are working on their Individual Career Academic Plans to prepare for their futures will career and school choices. Grades 3-8 and 11 are preparing to begin standardized testing. Mrs. Gottsch has eight students who qualified to compete at State STAR events March 24-25. She is also taking 25 students to the State Convention March 31-April 1. Madison Wheeler and Bridget Wilhite will each receive a $1500 Oklahoma FCCLA Alumni Scholarship at the State Convention. The following students won their classes and showmanship awards: Kynlee Kolb, Kacie Eshleman, Quinn Ream, Gaby Solis, Waylon Utterback, Ruston James, and Price Poe, who won Champion Angus Steer. Cherokee will host their first track meet, the Steve Hickman Invitational, on Friday, March 12. One Act is practicing for Regionals. Softball and baseball have officially started their seasons.

The agenda included a proposed Executive Session to discuss the employment of principals for the school year 2021-2022 so that the board can return to open session and vote to employ or not employ Jeremy Hickman and Ruth Richmond for the school year 2021-2022. (25 O.S. 307 (B) (1). Wilhite made a motion to enter into Executive Session, and Littlefield seconded the motion. The Board entered Executive Session at 7:22 p.m. Wilhite made a motion to acknowledge the board’s return to open session, and Littlefield seconded the motion. The Board returned to open session at 8:19 p.m. Wilhite gave the minutes of the Executive Session.

Superintendent Schanbacher recommended that Hickman be employed as Junior/Senior High School Principal for the 21-22 school year. Goodwin made a motion to approve the recommendation, and Wilhite seconded the motion. The motion was approved.

Superintendent Schanbacher recommended that no action be taken regarding the employment of Richmond as Elementary School Principal for the 21-22 school year. No action was taken.

Superintendent Schanbacher reported that a reduction in force (RIF) will be necessary for the 21-22 school year in order to meet budget limitations. A special board meeting will be held later in March. Several staff members have indicated that they will resign or retire at the end of this school year. All extra duty stipends will be reviewed to determine where costs can be reduced, and things like oil changes and spraying will be handled in-house to lower expenses. Students and staff will be charged for school-provided breakfast and lunch next school year; reduced charge forms will be available. Students will be responsible for their own school supplies next year; community donations will certainly help in this area.

Mr. Schanbacher commended all staff for the way they have handled the projected cuts in all areas, and stated that the focus will remain on what is best for the students.

As there was no new business, Wilhite made a motion to adjourn, and Littlefield seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at 8:29 p.m.

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