|from Owasso Public Schools Superintendent’s Report|
Good evening patrons and guests, Happy New Year and welcome to our first board meeting of 2014! Per usual this time of year the big news is the weather and school closings. I am not too excited to report that we have utilized 4 of our 5 designated school days but that is something we obviously have no control over. At this time I just want to inform parents of our future snow day plans as we go forward in the school year calendar.
Right now our last day of school with 4 snow days used is Thursday, May 29th. If we do use day 5 plus a day we would be faced with coming back on Monday, June 2nd. We know our patrons would rather not do this due to planned summer vacations, etc. What we will recommend is a plan to add time to each school day until the end of the school year to make up any days missed after the 5 planned snow days. We won’t know quite how to structure this until we actually know what we are up against time-wise. Several years ago we simply added a half hour to each school day until we had made up the days missed over the 5 amount. I would anticipate a plan very similar to that so we will have to wait and see how winter plays out at this point.
In other news we are meeting with the Bond Committee again this month in preparation for a proposed spring bond issue in the amount of 4.68 million dollars to be voted on April 1st. The gist of the bond monies will go toward what we often refer to as the ‘3 T’s’ (textbooks, technology & transportation) as well as safety equipment, band instruments, and monies for infrastructure upgrades at all 14 school sites. This is obviously not a large bond issue by past standards in our community but nevertheless it is just as critical to our overall operation. Our state funding continues to be cut which is putting even more pressure on our general fund balance that we use to hire and pay teachers—the result is less monies being available for those items referred to in the bond issue. It is indeed a delicate financial balance for our school district, we need our community’s full support—remember to vote on April 1st!
Our students have been enjoying many successes during this winter season. I am happy to report that once again the ‘Pride of Owasso’ led the way recently with a record 31 students achieving All-State status and 8 alternate status at the Oklahoma Band Masters Music competition. This breaks the old record of 29 All-Staters which has stood for many years! I am also proud to report that our relatively new ‘Robotics’ team under the direction of Mr. Dunn at the high school placed 2nd at the Muskogee Tournament in a field of 24 teams and was voted as having the most outstanding individual robot! All winter sports are underway in Basketball, Wrestling and Swimming and the teams look very promising in every sport!
Our Mid-High and 6th Grade Choir groups have also been invited to perform at the Oklahoma Music Educators Association Convention on January 17th in downtown Tulsa. I believe only three schools were invited from the entire state to participate in this event so that makes it even more special! Congratulations go out to the two groups and their instructors, Mr. Shimp at the 6th Grade Center and Mrs. Foyil at the Mid-High—I am sure they will represent us very well at the event!
Finally, we are gearing up for the legislative session which begins on Monday, February 3rd. Adequate school funding is at the top of the list as Owasso Schools have been cut once again to the tune of over $700,000 in mid-term monies this month! There are other issues such as potential changes to the Common Core Standards that have been put in place by the SDE and the legislature as well as proposed changes to the A-F grading system that was put in place this year across the State of Oklahoma.
I strongly encourage patrons to get involved in our Parent Legislative Action Committee (PLAC) and be ready to go to the Capitol to lobby on our behalf during the four month session which concludes on May 31st. If you wish to know more about this process please feel free to call my office at 272-5367 for additional information—this concludes my report.
Dr. Clark Ogilvie