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School Board tables district meal charge policy change; New members sworn in

Posted Date: 04/11/2023

School Board tables district meal charge policy change; New members sworn in


Poteau Schools Dietician Cindy Anson told the board the district so far is out $60,000 on unpaid meals, and that about 27 percent of the district's students eat breakfast and about half eat lunch.

Board member Phil McGehee said that about the only option is to let the non-earmarked funds of the district's child nutrition fund pay off the deficit, but Poteau Public Schools Interim Superintendent Dr. John Turner said that beginning next school year that Sooner Care will have a program, should students' families qualify, will pay for free lunches.

The one policy change that was approved was to the social media policy in that teachers will not be allowed to become friends with their students through platforms such as Facebook.

Newly-elected school board member Dennis Yochum, who is the LeFlore County Emergency Management director, was sworn in by Board Clerk Earl Jobe, then the board approved naming Ranada Adams as board president, McGehee as vice-president and Jobe as clerk.

In his report, Turner had Poteau Schools Director of Operations Devin Cochran tell the board that while the Vocational-Agriculture Building has been in use since the fall, there are things that are being discovered that need repairing and that a contractor has been contacted to do the fixing.

Cochran also told the board that the state fire marshal approved the conditions of Bob Lee Kidd Performing Arts Center, and now the paperwork is waiting to be received.

Turner told the board there is incumbent and new school board training happening soon in either Oklahoma City or Tulsa, but he also mentioned one happening from 6-9 p.m. May 2 at Kiamichi Tech.

Turner also told the board that he strongly recommends the district to update its new board policy handbook due to the current one being outdated.

The board approved the resignation of Bachelor of Science in Nursing/Registered Nurse Meygan Mode, the employment of Greg Wilson as a long-term substitute teacher in high school science, Shannon Couch as Pansy Kidd Middle School custodian and Aimee Freeman and Jennifer Roberts as the district’s licensed professional counselors and the hiring of PHS agriculture teacher Logan Rae, PHS computers teacher Belinda Westfall and PHS mathematics teacher Joe Westfall.

The board also approved re-employing the district's certified, temporary certified staff and support for the 2023-24 school year as well as look to hire Emily Humphries, Maura Tecla, Tiffany Tucker, Brooklyn Balido, Cheyanne Brickell, Annie Shaw, Katelynn Newman, Camryn Zink, Brooklyn Garner, Jessa Craig, Zoe Nesbitt and Elizabeth Page Reed for Pirate Quest for this upcoming summer school session.

The board approved the contracts for the 2023-24 school year with Compliance Resource for drug and alcohol testing, the Department of Rehabilitation Services, Kiamichi Tech for mathematics/science course instruction and transportation of students, Blue Bird Body Company for the electric bus, Comp Source and Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center for tele-medicine services.

Cochran told the board the electric bus is being funded by a $300,000 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Bus Act Grant, and that the vehicle can go about 125 to 150 miles before needing to be recharged. However, Cochran said the electric bus will be recharged daily.

Originally, Precision Drug Screening was going to be used, but Turner said Comp Source is cheeper and will allow testing to be done on site.

The board approved three temporary appropriations for next school year — $19,909,176 for the general fund, $1,581,458 for the child nutrition fund and $2,293,571 for the building fund.

The board approved several out-of-town trips for students of the district. One is scheduled either May 5 or 12 for the fourth-graders to visit AMC Movie Theater and Ben Geren Park in Fort Smith, Ark.

A second out-of-town trip approved was for the Seventh-Eight Grade Academic Center Art Club to visit Crystal Bridges Art Museum in Bentonville, Ark., in either April or May, while the third out-of-town trip is Posse Summer School teachers and administrators to take the kindergarten through first-grade students to the Janet Huckabee Nature Center in Fort Smith on May 30 and the same trip for second- through fourth-graders on May 31.

The board approved the 2023-24 school year calendar.

The board approved a damaged sign on the Band-Agriculture Building that has a hole in it for surplus.

Poteau Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Shannon Barnes gave her financial report, in which she said the ending balance for the general fund at the end of March was $4,188,607, $881,514 for the building fund, $753,166 in the child nutrition fund, $537,598 in the bond fund, $776,399 in the sinking fund and $121,741 in the insurance recovery fund.

In her encumbrances report, Barnes told the board the general fund was $101,040.09, the cafeteria fund was $233,939.46 and the insurance recovery fund was $1,250 for the final payment on the restoration of the Vocational-Agriculture Building.


Source: Poteau Daily News