The Woodward News

December 11, 2013

School board fills positions, recognizes band

Rachael Van Horn
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — Hiring topped the list of business items at the monthly meeting of the Woodward Board of Education Monday evening.

Hired were: ECC paraprofessional, Kim Elwood; ECC kindergarten teacher, Audrey Richmond-pending certification; ECC kindergarten teacher, Alexandra Mustain-pending certification; child nutrition driver, Ruth Rice; Boomer Kids Club worker, Sobeida DeLoera and middle school English teacher, Kristi Hunter.

Board members also voted Monday night to support a resolution asking Oklahoma legislators to create a special funding situation for the pension liability for in the State of Oklahoma.

According to Woodward Superintendent Tim Merchant, the request stems from new standards that were put out by the Government Accounting Standards Board. The new standards require local employers in Oklahoma State sponsored pension plans to report a portion of the pension liability on their own financial statements.

 “That impacts our bond rating - or financial status rating,” Merchant said. ‘We have a good financial rating right now and that is why we got that .07 percent rate on the bond recently.”

According to Merchant, the reporting of that pension liability has historically been done by the state.

“This resolution asks for that requirement to be taken off,” he said.

The Woodward High School band was honored by the board for its remarkable performance this year, which was a result of many early mornings and long hours of practice, Merchant said.

In recent months, Woodward High School band has won several awards and has placed consistently high in the last two band competitions, said Woodward High School Principal Kirk Warnock. But perhaps even better, they just sound great, he said.

That sentiment was echoed in the board room Monday night, where about 20 of the 78 band students appeared for a special recognition by Merchant and the board.

“First of all, I want to say that you all are the purpose, you are the reason we are here,” Merchant said. “It is for you that the decisions they make are with you in their hearts. I want to personally thank you for all the hard work. It was a lot of early mornings and hard work practicing that you were out there and we saw you and now we see the payoff. “

For their part, the band members present in the room with their instructor, Daci Crockett  had a few words of their own.

“Music is my passion and I feel so fortunate to have this program here,” said band member, Angie Aguilera.

Others also spoke up.

“You are not like all teachers, you have passion like, for us,” said band member Yvette Rosales, as she looked at her instructors Crockett and Assistant Band Instructor Greg Nuse.

“They are not just our teachers, they are our friends,” said Rhiannon McGuire. “They have passion for what they do and to have them share that with us has just been really great.”

In other business, Merchant updated the staff on the status of the agriculture barn damaged in the recent fire started by a faulty heat lamp.

“We finally were able to get a structural engineer to get out and look at the barn and make an assessment,” Merchant said.

Merchant made the request for an engineer to inspect the property to ensure that nothing structurally deficient or unsafe is left as a part of the building during the rebuild process.

Merchant said all but the main I-beams of the structure were deemed unsafe. That means, as the rebuilding goes forward, everything but those main structural pieces will have to be replaced.

In other business, Merchant informed board members of problems across the entire district with heating units that serve the schools.

According to Merchant, the extreme temperatures have stressed some of the main electrical igniters, but work is ongoing to get them replaced and up and running again. In the mean time, space heaters are being used to help keep the classrooms warm, as well as some classes being diverted to warmer portions of some schools.