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Board Report - May 15

Photo: Ret. Lt. Col. Ron McCool recognized for service at Union.

Originally posted May 15, 2018

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Board considers revisions to school calendar, closing school for November election

Union’s Board of Education is considering a revision to the school calendar that would close school on Election Day – Tuesday, November 6 – allowing teachers an easier opportunity to vote.  A number of school districts across the state have made similar moves in response to the recent teacher walkout.  This “first reading” provides parents and the public with a chance to weigh in on the recommended changes.  The Board will consider approval in June.

A few other revisions:

  • Turn December 20 and 21 back into school days, with winter break starting on Monday, December 24. 
  • Second semester would start Monday, January 7, instead of January 3.
  • May 31 would be the last day of school, with six snow days built in. 

“Not only does this make it easier for our teachers to cast their vote, it enables us to add one more day to the fall calendar when we really need it,” said Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler. 

View the new calendar here.

Ret. Lt. Col. Ron McCool recognized for service at Union

Ret. Lt. Col. Ronald McCoolState Rep. Ross Ford recognized Ret. Lt. Col. Ronald McCool, who will be retiring from teaching at the end of the school year, for his many years of service as instructor for the AFJROTC program at Union.  He was joined by SMSgt Daniel Snow, cadets with the Union Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, and the Board of Education for the reading of a citation from the Oklahoma House of Representatives. 

McCool’s retirement comes after the cadets were honored with a 2017-18 Silver Star Community Service with Excellence Award. Union’s AFJROTC was one of only 276 in the nation to receive the 2017-18 Air Force JROTC Distinguished Unit Award.

McCool was recognized as the Teacher of the Year for Union Intermediate High School for 2010-2011. He is a former squadron commander and leader of the Air Force Air Training and Education Command's Inspector General Inspection team. He has been a dedicated teacher and distance runner who leads by example with a grueling daily training regimen that continues to inspire and challenge his students. 

As Union JROTC instructors, McCool and Snow are highly qualified and decorated retired members of the United States Air Force, each with more than 23 years of active service. Both instructors served with distinction in the first Gulf War and have been recognized repeatedly as AFJROTC Outstanding Instructors since forming Union’s program in August 2002.  Their leadership has helped this unit to be recognized as among the best in the nation, earning the distinguished unit award multiple times.

View photos below.

Keith Construction to renovate PAC lobby area; Magnum Construction to make improvements at 9th Grade Center

Board members accepted an amended agreement with Keith Construction to renovate the Performing Arts Center lobby and the restrooms for $819,051.

This project will provide for the expansion and updating of the High School’s PAC restrooms, new interior finishes to the lobby area – which doubles as a student commons area during school hours – and a new scene lighting system that will create softer lighting when the PAC is used for performances and events.

Magnum Construction was awarded the bid for 9th Grade Center interior improvements for $634,900, including new wooden flooring in the main gym, folding bleachers, acoustical wall systems in the main gym, removal of the old sisal wall covering in the commons area to be replaced with tile, acoustical ceilings and LED lighting in the commons, and fresh paint throughout the school.

Both projects will be paid for using bond funds, as approved by voters.

Union to begin Phase III construction for Ellen Ochoa Elementary

Board members accepted bids for construction of Phase III for Ellen Ochoa Elementary for a cost of $5.3 million, allowing Flintco, LLC to complete the school project.

Phase III construction will include completion of the west wing, additional parking lots and completion of the campus landscape. The west wing will include an entrance, two outdoor classrooms, a media center, as well as reading nooks, collaboration spaces, as well as furniture, fixtures, and equipment. In February, voters approved $6.6 million for Phase III to cover construction and furnishings.

Once Phase III is completed, Ochoa Elementary will have twice the capacity, serving up to 1,000 students.

Board accepts $1.46 million donation from George Kaiser Family Foundation for REACH program

Board members accepted a donation of $1,461,421 from the George Kaiser Family Foundation via the Union Schools Education Foundation to fund the REACH program for two years.

The Carrera Program is transitioning to the REACH program. Through this grant, students will be provided with services that include academic and mental health support, sexual health education, and college and career counseling.

Board to pay $89,000 for financial audit

The Board of Education approved a contract with RSM US LLP (formerly Cole & Reed) Certified Public Accountants to perform a financial audit of the 2017-2018 fiscal year not to exceed $89,000.

This audit will include a financial and compliance examination of the federal programs. The fee reflects an increase of $4,000 from the 2015-2016 audit, the first increase in four years.

Board buys iPads, laptops for its new 1:1 initiative

The Board of Education approved two purchases that will help Union move forward with its “1-to-1 initiative” that will ultimately provide every student in the district with access to at least one electronic device.

Board members approved a purchase of 500 iPads and protective cases, 22 Apple TVs and a Mac mini on-site application server for $168,432 for a 1-to-1 iPad pilot at Boevers Elementary. With this purchase and current inventory, Boevers will have full classroom sets of iPads at all grade levels.

Meanwhile, the Board approved a purchase of 1,250 Dell Latitude 32180 laptops from Trinity Technology for $506,250. These laptops will be used by every student enrolled in the 9th Grade Center. The cost also covers an overage for future enrollments and replacements should a laptop be damaged.

Board OKs purchase of video surveillance system for 8th Grade Center

The Board of Education approved an agreement to pay $85,347 to Digi Surveillance System for a new video surveillance system at the 8th Grade Center.

As Union strives to improve student safety, the purchase will enhance the district’s ability to monitor students, faculty, and the grounds. While the number of cameras will increase, new high-resolution capability will provide greater resolution.

In other action, the Board:

  • Renewed a software agreement with School Spire, Inc., for $72,000. School Spire software is utilized for district CRT and teacher-created assessments for about 12,000 students in grades 3-12.  Assessments are administered three times per year, and the report data is used by teachers to identify learning progress and inform instructional practice. This approval will renew the current product for all sites for the 24-month period from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2020.
  • Approved a blanket purchase order to Oak Farms for $77,000 for dairy and juice products from the Child Nutrition fund. 
  • Agreed to pay Trinity3 $121,720 for 305 student laptops and seven laptops carts for use at the 6th/7th Grade and 8th Grade Centers’ computer labs. Any existing computers that are being replaced, yet are still functional, will be delivered to elementary schools for use.