After a long discussion, the board voted to disapprove the new roof on Eugene Field at this time. However, they approved the bids for a metal roof at the Altus High School Gymnasium. The board will also consider a new metal roof for the Altus High School Auditorium at the next meeting in April. The board did approve to call for bids for the electrical plans for Eugene Field.
The Summer Driver’s Education Course was also approved. The cost to enroll will be $125. Two sessions will be offered with the first class set to begin on May 29. Students must be 15 years or older to attend.
Comments from the public came from Shawn and Christi Cummings, who wanted a clearer definition on in-district transfers.
Under the superintendent’s reports and comments, members of the Altus High School swim teams, both girls and boys, received recognition for their academic achievement. AHS senior Erin Johnson was also recognized for being a National Merit Scholar Award finalist and All-Stater. AHS Principal Mark Haught was acknowledged for being the OASSP Principal of the Year.
Kindergarten enrollment will be held May 2, 3 and 4. Choice of School forms, which give parents the opportunity to choose the school they want their child to attend, will be taken April 10 to 14.
The Altus School District was notified that it was not in compliance in the payroll department on paying teachers’ retirement on the flex benefit that the state provides the school to offset the cost of health insurance.
“Somehow we got started wrong in 1998-1999 school year, and when we started we were charging each individual teacher retirement on that flex benefit through the years it has continued,” Superintendent Bob Drury said. “We have visited with our attorney, we think that we have a plan after visiting with the Oklahoma teacher’s retirement system to refund to those individuals that have had this withheld from their pay. The maximum amount that has been withheld is a little bit over $800 for those last eight years. It depends on the number of years that the person has participated ... we are going to stay on top of that and are addressing that at this time.”
In other news, Haught said AHS was approached by the Oklahoma Board of Higher Regents to meet with other people in the school and look at some of their school data in a workshop that was titled “Using Data to Lead Change.” AHS teachers selected to do research were Cindy Bailey, Susan Brown, Rhonda Garrison and Jaycie Smith.
According to the data they presented, this is the first year that the daily average attendance rate has been less than the state average.
“We realize that if the students are not in class, they are not obtaining the necessary information that they need in order to be successful,” Smith said. “We are concerned that this behavior will become a habit that will have a detrimental effect on our ELI scores.”
The freshman class alone has an average of 102 students on the ineligible list this nine weeks, which means 35 percent of freshmen are failing at least one class.
According to Smith, excessive student absences affect district funding. Last year, excessive absences cost the district $60,000 of impact aid and textbook funding.
The group proposed that students with perfect attendance be placed in a drawing for prizes at the awards recognition assembly in May, the students with perfect attendance be awarded with a Bulldog Friday, and the class with the highest percentage of students in class each month will be awarded a traveling trophy.
Since the issue was a nonvoting item, board member David Walker wanted to see more data on the absenteeism and the subject areas the students were failing and how it was spread out among the different classes.
The issue, with the new data included, will be brought up at the board meeting in April. A special board meeting to acknowledge receipt of the 2005 financial audit will be held at noon March 23.