March 8, 2018
I want to address the question regarding the day we missed for bad weather and whether or not we will make it up. My general policy is that for each two days we miss; we will make one up. So, at this point, we do not have to make up any days.
Concerning the old John Ross Elementary building, our board approved a bid for its demolition. Hutton, Inc. from Elk City has started asbestos removal. After the asbestos has been taken away, the building will be demolished and removed. We have decided to keep the gymnasium for a baseball/softball hitting facility. The bid was for $127,205.00 and except for our deductible of $2500, will be paid for by insurance.
At our last meeting, I informed the board that our legislature has ordered a 2% reduction across-the-board for all state agencies since they can't come up with a fully-funded budget. That will decrease our state aid by approximately $13,000 this year.
I also spoke to the board regarding a potential walk-out by Oklahoma teachers. I have always been resistant regarding a teacher walk-out. I didn't strike in 1990 because I didn't feel it was the right thing to do. However, times have drastically changed. In 1990, Oklahoma didn't have the lowest teaching salary in the 50 states and wasn’t facing a devastating teacher shortage. School districts are currently forced to cut staff in order to have enough money to operate. Our teachers’ needs are continually ignored by a majority of the legislature and we are made to be scapegoats for the unwitting series of testing trials attempted by our state. Teachers are frankly fed up with the promises made while no action takes place. Meanwhile, all of these problems directly and substantially affect our children.
The BF-DC school board is solidly behind our teachers and staff. They greatly respect how hard our staff works and understand the position in which the state has placed them. None of us want to see a work stoppage take place but if a majority of staff members decide to rally, we may not have enough teachers to operate school.
Our staff is well aware that this decision should not be made lightly. Such an action would place considerable burdens upon families in our community. I am hopeful that our community understands the necessity of what teachers are fighting for and will continue to support them. I also hope that if a work stoppage takes place, it will be very short in duration.
I welcome any comments that you might have. If you have questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to call or come by. I will also do my best to keep you informed as to the decisions for our school district. Thank you for all of your support!
Larry R. Johnson, Superintendent
Burns Flat-Dill City Public Schools
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