The Woodward News

June 12, 2013

School board hires several teachers

Rachael Van Horn
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — The Woodward Board of Education approved the hiring of 11 new teachers Monday night at its monthly meeting.

The new positions are a result of efforts of the Woodward Board of Education to reduce class size, said Woodward Superintendent Tim Merchant.

Hired Monday night on temporary contract were: Lesha Alvarez, special education paraprofessional; Ray Henry, social studies; Brandi Green, detention center eighth grade alternative; Melody Riley, alternative education English teacher; Laurie Skaggs, 5th grade Cedar Heights; Shelly Noble, 3rd grade Cedar Heights; Wendi Oates, Highland Park 5th grade; Conni McDaniel, Horace Mann 3rd grade; Rachel McDonald, Horace Mann 5th grade; Jenny Macdonald, ECC 1st grade and Ofelia Marin, special education paraprofessional.

During his report, Merchant discussed the financial condition of the district.

Despite the per student state funding remaining below 2008 levels, Merchant feels the district is in good shape with a little more than $3.1 million carry over in the general fund.

“Financially, within ourselves as a district, we are in sound shape,” Merchant said. “That credit for our good condition goes to everybody, the board the administrative staff with all the planning and the teachers, who are making sacrifices in the classrooms.”

While legislators are touting a $90 million they applied this year to education, the money does not directly impact students, Merchant said.

“That money is already designated for line items like flex benefits (insurance) for the teachers,” Merchant said. “It does not cover unfunded mandates that we have to cover and that is what puts us below 2008 levels in per student funding again this year.”

However, ad valorem tax receipts have been good for the region and have continued to allow the district to improve buildings as well as decrease class sizes.

In other business Joe Hall of Joe D. Hall Construction made a presentation to board members for their consideration of his company for possible future bond issue construction projects.

The company has operated in the local area for more than 28 years and is experienced with school bond type building projects and the construction management culture now adhered to versus the general contracting model of years past, Hall said.

After hearing his presentation, the board voted and approved the services of Joe Hall Construction.

The board also approved a return to Oklahoma Schools Insurance Group (OSIG) a property and liability insurance pool that consists of more than 300 member schools. The board approved the yearly premium of $228,989.00.

Two years ago the board has changed insurance providers from OSIG to Oklahoma Schools Property and Casualty Collective (OSPCC) but after having a difficulty getting the company to settle a now, year old hail claim for one of the school buildings, the board  voted to return to OSIG.