School Board meeting today

By JESSIE BRYDGES
Staff Writer

A special school board meeting will be held today at 5 p.m. to decide whether or not to continue the teacher walkout for another week. Two meeting times were considered during Monday night's school board meeting before the school board settled for a Friday night meeting. 

“If we're still out Friday then we can decide if we're going to go day by day the following week,” Superintendent Dwayne Noble said. 

The Henryetta Board of Education building was packed for the school board meeting with several teachers in attendance who had just returned from the capitol. Many Henryetta teachers are continuing to gather and call for better education funding. 

The first item of the agenda even considered the teacher walkout, leading to a discussion and vote to approve or not approve district response to continuing the walkout. 

“I think that if we let people know now that we are going to be out of the rest of the week, this week for sure, that helps people plan and then we'll keep an eye on how things are developing,” Noble said. 

Some board members even shared stories from the walkout with the audience, including Casey Jones who was nearly overwhelmed with emotion as he observed the walkout earlier on Monday. 

“It was amazing, what I was seeing up there,” Jones said “I actually had to sit and stop for a bit so I could be emotional.” 

Jones also had the opportunity to speak with Senator Roger Thompson about the walkout. 

“It's much different when you sit in his shoes versus our shoes looking in so I don't know what the end result is going to be,” Jones said. “There's a lot of options but I don't know what they're going to do yet and I'm worried. But I do know we can't leave yet.”

Jones' attitude was reflected around the board table and throughout the room as audience and board members expressed their worries but also their commitment to stay and fight. 

Conversation then turned to when Henryetta's schools would go back into session. 

Several audience members spoke up that the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) stated that they will call for teachers to go back to class when all the demands are met. 

However, Jones argued that the OEA does not necessarily know what would be right for Henryetta schools specifically and suggested that the board decide for themselves when Henryetta teachers should return. 

The following agenda items were approved:
Minutes of the March 12 Regular Board Meeting
Minutes of the March 29 Special Board Meeting
Encumbrances and financial reports
Fundraisers including a Ms. Willis fundraiser for the Henryetta Choir
Agreement with Gabbart for Annual District, Campus and Teacher Websites for the 2018-19 school year.
Agreement with Therapy Works for the 2018-19 school year.
Resignation letter from Patti Carter as of March 31.
Carter submitted a letter stating that while she was sad that she had to submit her letter of resignation, due to health issues she felt she was no longer able to serve the students. 
School Calendar for the 2018-19 School year
The 2018-19 school year will start in just 19 weeks.
The first day of school has been set for Aug. 16 this year. That is a week before classes started this year.
May 16, 2019, has been set as the final day of school.
The new calendar also calls for teachers to report Aug. 13 for three days training and parent-teacher conferences are set for Sept. 27 and 28 and Feb. 7 and 8. 
Christmas break has been set to start Dec. 24 and will run through Jan. 4, 2019.
Spring break will take place March 18-22 and graduation for the 2019 seniors is set for May 17, 2019. 

At 6:54 p.m., the board voted to go into executive session to discuss the following:
Re-Hiring of Para Professionals for the 2018-19 school year including
Tonya Powders
Donna Faler
Janette Dodge
Beverly Ritter
Martha Richison
Katie Simons
Alissa Puckett
Shelly Nadeau
Lori Henry
Laura Black
Lucus Stidman
The board returned at 6:59 p.m. and approved all hires. 

The elementary principal and assistant principal talked about upcoming test plans. This week third grade students traveled to the elementary school to take end of the year tests. The timing was crucial. If a student does poorly on the test they will have the opportunity to attend summer school and bring their score up. However, if they missed the test then the school would have no warning that a student could need extra help. 

In the past, Henryetta has striven for 100 percent involvement during testing. And while that may not be possible this year with the walkout, they are still going to get as many students as possible in the testing sites. 

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