The Altus School District Superintendent warned of financial strains on the FY 2013-13 budget, during the Board of Education regular monthly meeting, Monday, Oct. 14, in the Conference Room of the Administration Building. Board President Dr. John Thomas, and members Darrell Moss, and Col. Michael Greiner were absent, with remaining members comprising a quorum. Vice President Keith Philips presided.
“Thank goodness for a good carryover. Otherwise, this is a very ugly budget,” Altus Superintendent Roger Hill said during the meeting, after the Board approved to open a public hearing to discuss the District’s financial matters.
“Expect Altus Schools to dig deep into carryover funds this school year,” Hill said. “Less state and federal revenue with increased mandates for accountability have placed a tremendous strain on our school budget. If this trend continues, Altus Schools will be forced to eliminate certain educational services and programs, as well as increase class sizes to 25 to 30 students. Nobody wants to see these kind of numbers, especially in the primary grades. That’s counterproductive to everything that we do with many challenges that teachers have in the classroom. Out State Superintendent does not seem to understand the negative impact this will have on student achievement. It seems like public education is being set up for failure with the leadership at the State Department of Education.”
Board of Education Clerk, Karen Sanchez, commented that the budget has decreased because of declining student enrollment. “Student enrollment drives most of the budget but with less revenue, still having to accomplish the same amount or more, we need to watch what we spend,” said Sanchez.
“It’s good to have carryover,” Vice President Phillips commented. “But not so good if you have to get so deep into it. Hopefully things will change up there. I’m not sure its going to. We’ll see.”
The Altus Board of Education approved to name the Athletic Training Facility the “Doc” Tennessen Athletic Training Facility. They also approved the lettering for the facility for the amount of $5,640 to be produced and installed by Arrow Sign Company of Lawton, to be paid through the MAPS fund.
Doctor Chuck Tennessen received his Associate’s Degree from Garden City Junior College in 1956. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in St. Louis in 1961. Tennessen then entered private practice in 1961 at Frederick Chiropractic Clinic where he remained until 1967. from 1968 to 1975, he served as head athletic trainer at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. He was an athletic trainer and science teacher from 1975 until 1989 at Hobart High School. Tennessen then moved to Altus in 1989 where he was Altus High School athletic trainer until 1995. “Doc” retired and volunteered his services and skills to athletes in his hometown of Frederick.
The Board also approved a change order for the “Doc” Tennessen Atheletic Training Facility for $10,956.66, for modifications of electrical service connections at a nearby transformer, as required by City of Altus, and awarded the contract to R.B. Electric LLC, of Altus, to be paid through MAPS.
The Board approved Child Nutrition Director Sabina Garrett to attend the 7th Annual Southern Obesity Summit in Nashville, Tenn., on Nov. 17-19, to be paid by the Jackson County Health Department, Communities of Excellence Nutrition and Physical Activity Grant. This summit allows for a state collaboration between community leaders in varied fields to explore strategies and program policy initiatives that would support engaging the youth in Oklahoma to achieve obesity prevention.
The Board approved Southwest Technology Center Health Science Instructor Rachel Soiz and an adjunct instructor for Anatomy and Physiology for the District to begin teaching students who are eligible for and Anatomy and Physiology credit in Health Science, to begin during the second semester of the school year.
The School Board also approved the a list of “other academic measures” per TLE System as approved by the State Board of Education. Hill stated that as a requirement, the district must adopt the list which will be included in this year’s TLE evaluation with teachers.
“This is a pilot year which means there are no stakes tied to evaluation,” Hill explained. Teachers will get to choose a “smart” goal from the list for students to develop. “We are charting new waters with this. We’ve received information from the state department of Education. There are still a lot of unanswered questions on how all of this will tie into teacher evaluations,” Hill stated.
Other items approved on the agenda include the consent agenda, and resignations of non-certified personnel within the school district. Resigning Non-certified include Norma Banda, a four hour cook at Altus High School, effective Sept. 10, Kelsey Harrell, four hour cook at Altus Intermediate School, effective Sept. 23, Jessica Landram, Sp. Education Aide at Sunset Elem., effective Oct. 15, and Mike Tullos, Bus Driver for the District, effective Sept. 30.
The Board approved support new hires including Cindy Caldera, Office Aide at AHS; Armando Cazares, Custodian at AHS; Tammy Darden, Teacher’s Aide at Sunset; Roxanne Dowell, Title I Aide at Will Rogers; Letha Gernjak, Title I Aide at Sunset; Deborah Nunez, four hour Cook at AHS; and Juana Velazquez, four hour Cook at AIS. The Board also approved a list of substitutes, times sheet employees, volunteers, and extra duty personnel.