Cherokee Board of Education holds reduction in force meeting

The Cherokee Board of Education met at 7 p.m., April 19, for a special meeting.

The meeting was called to order with Kory Littlefield, Kurtis Goodwin, Shane Parker, Desiree Gibson and Amber Wilhite present.

The first item was to conduct a hearing on superintendent’s recommended reduction in force as follows:

• Opening statement by the superintendent. Superintendent Bryce Schanbacher gave his opening statement.

Three waivers were signed to voluntarily agree to the reduction in force. Those three were Byron Conner, Hailey Cudmore and Amy Eckhardt.

• Opening statement by affected employees. No statements were made.

• Presentation of superintendent’s evidence followed by cross-examination of witnesses by affected employees. Schanbacher presented the summary of finances, reduction of force policy and other documents to the board members.

As of April 14, 2021 the revenue was $2,845,708.61 and the estimate of needs revenue was supposed to be $4.6 million. There are still two months to go.

In 2019-2020 the gross production was over $828,000 and this year they have collected just over $267,000 with two months to go.

There will be zero carryover for the next fiscal year.

• Questions by board members. None were asked.

• Redirect, recross or additional questions by board members. None were asked.

• Presentation of evidence by affected employees. None were presented.

• Cross-examination of witnesses on behalf of affected employees by the superintendent. No cross-examination was done.

• Questions by board members. None were asked.

• Redirect, recross or additional questions by board members. None were asked.

• Presentation of rebuttal and surrebuttal evidence as necessary. None was presented.

• Closing argument by the superintendent. None was offered.

• Closing arguments by affected employees. None were offered.

At 7:12 p.m., the board convened into executive session to discuss the employment status of Byron Conner, Kelsey Chace, Amy Eckhardt and Hailey Cudmore.

The board returned to open session at 7:34 p.m. and the minutes of executive session were announced.

The school board adopted findings of fact with respect to recommended reduction in force, elimination/reduction of positions/programs and employment of Conner, Chace, Eckhardt and Cudmore.

Next, the board approved that there was a need for a reduction in force exists as set forth in the findings of fact.

The board also approved the recommended elimination/reduction of positions/programs as set forth in the findings of fact.

The board voted not to renew the employment contracts of Conner, Chace, Eckhardt and Cudmore based on the findings of fact.

The final item of business was instructing the superintendent to notify Conner, Chace, Eckhardt and Cudmore of the board’s decision including the basis of the decision and the findings of fact. That item was approved.

The meeting adjourned at 7:42 p.m.

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