Woodward Public Schools (WPS) Board of Education meeting Monday evening was canceled due to lack of quorum. A special meeting has been scheduled for Monday, Jan. 18 at 5 p.m. instead.
In the meantime, Woodward Public Schools Superintendent Kyle Reynolds gave an update for community residents.
“The new semester has been a financial mix of good and bad news,” Reynolds said. “Recently the Federal Government passed new CARES 2 relief funds, which includes $650 million for Oklahoma schools.”
According to Reynolds, tentative projections indicate that WPS will receive just over $2 million.
“This is a relief for our district given the fact that this year's initial state funding allocation in July was $1 million less than last year, and we just learned that we will lose another $500,000 from the mid-term adjustment that was released a few days ago,” Reynolds said. “We will continue to approach our financial position conservatively as we brace for the coming fiscal year, which is projected to be even worse than the current year.”
Reynolds also gave an update on the roofing situation at the schools.
“About a year and a half ago the district entered a claim for hail damage from a storm in June of 2019,” Reynolds explained. “To date our insurance company has issued approximately $4.3 million in funds for Phase 1, which consists of the work accomplished to date at the high school.”
An agreement is in the works at this time for a full and final settlement of approximately $8.1 million, minus the funds already disbursed which will account for roofing repairs and replacements at the other locations in the district, according to Reynolds.
“This has been a long, arduous process, and we have a great deal of work yet to accomplish,” Reynolds added. “But these projects will help us protect our investments in our facilities.”
An item has been added to the agenda of the special meeting for the board to consider possible modifications to the WPS COVID-19 Pandemic Plan.
“Our teachers, administrators, and support staff continue to work hard every day to make sure we are providing the safest environment possible for our students and staff,” Reynolds said. “We were extremely fortunate that only one site in the district had to be closed during the first semester, which was due to a staffing issue that would have created a safety issue related to student supervision.”
The district is now able to utilize BinaxNOW rapid tests to test for COVID-19 in students and staff on a voluntary basis, according to Reynolds.
“Students and staff who wish to reduce their quarantine with a negative test on Day 7 will have that option to test for free from the district,” Reynolds reminded. “We continue to communicate with local and regional OSDH staff to plan for educators who wish to receive the vaccine as a part of Phase 2 of the state's COVID-19 vaccination plan.”
Governor Stitt's press conference on Tuesday unveiled the State's new plan to not require quarantines for individuals identified as a close contact with a someone who tested positive for COVID-19 if all parties were wearing a mask and other safety protocols were being observed, according to Reynolds.
“This plan is remarkably similar to what the WPS Board of Education adopted last fall, only to overturn in short order when state officials warned about the implications of going against the state Health Department's policies,” Reynolds remarked. “Mounting studies demonstrate, as Governor Stitt and Commissioner Frye pointed out, that transmission levels at schools are extremely low."
Reynolds stressed that WPS staff have been diligent with sanitizing protocols and social distancing when possible. He believes mask-wearing has and will continue to make a significant difference.
The special board meeting on Monday will be in the school administration building, 1023 10th St.
The meeting basically replaces the regular meeting that was canceled on Jan. 11 due to lack of a quorum and the agenda is basically the same.
Board members will recognize the district's teacher of the year finalists and hear reports from Reynolds.
Along with the consent agenda, there are three action items - with the main one consideration of possible modifications to the school's COVID-19 pandemic plan.
An executive session is planned to hear the January district personnel report and the contract review from Reynolds. Any votes will be in open session.