Sand Springs Board of Ed overcomes financial challenges, increases school security and hires new staff

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By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

The Sand Springs Board of Education handed out three Coins of Excellence at the regular monthly meetings Tuesday night. Jamie Guthrie received a coin for her appointment to the Executive Committee for Oklahoma Directors of Special Services. Clyde Boyd Middle School teacher Janet Johnson was recognized as an Outstanding Middle Level Science Teacher. Board member Bo Naugle was recognized for his services on the board and formerly as Board President.  

Superintendent Sherry Durkee had the reigns for the first time since officially moving into her new position as of July 1st.

Durkee walked the meeting through the new mandates concerning student evaluation since the passage of House Bill 3218 which eliminated the controversial End of Instruction exams. Incoming classes will still have evaluation exams, but the tests won't impede graduation for students who have satisfied curricular requirements. 

The Garfield Elementary renovations will be done by the end of July according to Durkee, and the district is actually ahead on budget, allowing them to green-light several additional items.  

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The 2016-2017 school year will feature a new security feature across the district, called "Lobby Guard." Lobby Guard will allow school visitors to scan their drivers license or state-issued ID upon entering the school. The program will run visitors' ID through a database of sex offenders and other potentially dangerous individuals. Visitors cleared for entry will then receive a photo ID sticker allowing for easy identification by teachers. On a lighter note, the program will also allow for easier tracking of volunteer hours.

The district is looking at a general fund of about $3.8 million dollars compared to $4.3 million the prior year, but is still above worst case scenario predictions. According to Treasurer Greg Morris, the district was at one point looking at a general fund of $2.9 million before the repercussions of the latest legislative session balanced out.  

The board approved the hiring of eleven new employees for the new school year. The new employees will be filling positions vacated since the previous school year and are not newly created positions. Despite the new hires, the district will still be down 51 personnel since the last school year.  

CBMS will gain three new employees in Tiffany Golightly, Sarah Thayer, and Baine Wise. Golightly will teach sixth grade English, Thayer will teach sixth grade English as well as coach the eighth and ninth grade Cheer teams, and Scott Patton will be the middle school Head Football Coach and In-School Intervention Supervisor. 

Pratt Elementary gained Special Education teacher Haleigh Mattingly. Angus Valley Elementary gained Speech Language Pathologist Kama Wilson. Limestone Elementary gained kindergarten teacher Megan Kernell and second grade teacher Kristina Medina. 

Charles Page High School will add Amanda Lair, Jason Thomsen, and Blaine Wise. Lair will teach History, Thomsen will teach Special Ed, and Wise will teach History as well as coach Football and Golf.