School board approves purchase of two vacant lots near Pecan Bowl, appoints ‘extra duty salary’ review committee

By Joshua Allen
ONL Staff Reporter

The Panther football field complex could see some expansion in the coming future after the Okemah Board of Education voted to approve the purchase of two vacant lots near the Pecan Bowl this week.   

Located at 412 N. 6th Street, the two vacant lots are adjacent to property already owned by the school district, very near the Pecan Bowl and its parking lot, interim Superintendent Bob Gragg said.

When the question of the potential use for the land was asked, Gragg said the vacant lots, because of the proximity to the Pecan Bowl, would be used for “some expansion … for more parking and things like that.” 

The vote of approval came during a regular meeting of the Board of Education Monday, Dec. 10. 

During the meeting, Gragg told board members an offer for the land had been made and had been accepted by the landowner, but a closing date or any other details were not given.

During an executive session of the meeting, the board discussed hiring a new library aide, the donating of sick leave for a staff member and the appointing of a review committee for the district’s extra duty salary schedules. 

When the board reconvened publicly, a vote of approval was issued for hiring Anetta Kluttz as the school’s new library aide. 

“She is a good fit for the job,” Gragg said after the meeting. “She is a longtime substitute teacher for us and has done a lot of volunteer work over the years.” 

The board voted to also approve the donation of 20 days of sick leave to Megan Legrand before going into discussion concerning the salary review committee. 

According to district policy, “The Extra-Duty salary schedules will be periodically reviewed and compared with like sized school districts similar in size and socio-economic makeup, on a three-year basis.” 

It is the responsibility of the board of education, according to the policy, to appoint a review committee with representation from the school board, administration and Okemah Education Association. 

At Monday’s meeting, the board made its appointments. They are as follows: 

High school principal, Lee Vick; high school teacher, Jeff McVeigh; middle school principal, Sandra Lambert; middle school teacher, Debbie Thomas; elementary school principal, Alicia Rogers; elementary school teacher, Jeremy Strickland; athletic director, Joe Turner; designee to represent the Okemah Education Association, Shannan Tucker; interim superintendent, Bob Gragg; and board of education members J.C. Haddox and Jim Bill Copeland. 

The board also voted to approve the signing of a contract with Big 5 Community Services, Inc. to provide ‘headstart’ services for the 2018-2019 school year. Big 5 is a company Okemah has used before. 

Board member Jason Bean asked if it would be more cost-efficient for the district to do the ‘headstart’ services in-house, to which he received an answer in the affirmative. 

“Let’s see a presentation of (the costs of doing it in-house) next time,” Bean said. 

Next time will have to be the school year after next. 

Gragg and the rest of the board members agreed to review the possibility of the district doing its own ‘headstart’ services for the 2019-2020 school year. 

Following the discussion, the superintendent recommended the board go with the Big 5 contract as it were presented for the coming year and until the in-house option can be evaluated and decided on. 

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