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Board Report - February 13

Originally posted February 15, 2017

Thank you voters!

A "hearty" THANK YOU to Union parents and supporters for SUCCESSFULLY PASSING the district's latest bond issue. Just over 80 percent voted YES for the $26-million bond that will enable the district to complete Phase II of construction on the new elementary school. It will also provide tools for the district's world-class STEM initiatives, as well as help with building renovations, roof repair, and new classroom construction for fine arts and student activities.

See past Board reports/minutes

Committee formed to name new elementary

A committee has been formed to name Union’s new elementary school, which is scheduled to open this fall. Rita Long, who will be principal of the new school, will head the committee; she is currently principal at McAuliffe Elementary School.

Board member Heather McAdams will also serve on the naming committee. Other members include Briarglen patron Megan Trejo, teacher Danielle Tolomeo, Union support employee Frank Brazwell, and Briarglen fifth grade student Colby Brister.

The committee is charged with making a name recommendation for the Board of Education’s consideration this spring.

The new elementary is now under construction in one of the fastest-growing areas of the district, located on 31st Street between Garnett Road and 129th East Avenue. Thanks to a favorable vote on Valentine’s Day, Union will use $11 million of the $26-million bond proposal to complete Phase II construction of the school, essentially the first half of the building; this will enable Union to move Briarglen’s approximately 500 students (grades K-5) into the new school this fall, in time for the 2017-18 school year.

A future bond issue will fund full completion of the building in 2018, accommodating another 500 students. Not only will the school address growth in the north central part of the district, it will free up elementary classroom space in other parts of the district. The school is going to be a beautiful addition to the area.  It will be an energy-efficient, state-of-the art Community School.  Its amenities include open learning corridors, classrooms that share a common dream space, “maker spaces” for project-based learning, and a health clinic.

Board approves 2017-2018 school calendar

The 2017-18 school year will begin Tuesday, August 22. After collecting public comments for the past month, Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler recommended the Tuesday start date to the Board of Education, which they unanimously approved. View calendar.

Among the concerns expressed by those in favor of a Tuesday start . . . A number of families had already made travel plans in observance of the total solar eclipse, which takes place on Monday, August 21. There were also concerns about subjecting students to five straight days of school when they return. 

Board endorses Tulsa Regional Chamber’s 2017 OneVoice Regional Legislative Agenda

The Board of Education voted unanimously to endorse the Tulsa Regional Chamber’s 2017 OneVoice Regional Legislative Agenda, which is the collective work of Chamber members and community partners. Among the OneVoice Agenda’s priorities are addressing the teacher shortage, opposing school vouchers, and restoring education funding.

“After years of repeated success, the OneVoice Agenda has become an important resource for legislators, state executives, and policy-makers,” Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler stated. “The Board of Education’s endorsement of the OneVoice Agenda will help ensure that Tulsa’s voice is heard at the state capitol. All school districts in the Greater Tulsa area have voiced their support for this important agenda.”

Agreement for new pharmacy service for employees approved

Beginning July 1, MedalistRx will oversee pharmacy services for Union’s self-insured medical indemnity plan after the Board approved the change based on a recommendation by Cindy Solomon, Senior Executive Director of Human Resources, and the district’s Insurance Committee, which includes Chief Financial Officer Dr. Trish Williams.

The committee recommended the change because MedalistRx offers a better pricing structure and more individualized oversight and management of pharmacy benefits. The district expects to save an additional $27,000 per month, on average, with the new provider, and there is the potential for even more savings.

Of particular importance is MedalistRx’s ability to notify clients of drugs coming onto the market that are extremely expensive, but for which an alternate drug is available that offers equal or better results.

Food commodity processing bids for 2017-2018 approved

Some of the basic food commodities your child will eat in 2017-18 will come from a variety of sources and cost more than $820,000 for the school year.

Union will pay an estimated $828,857 in food commodity processing bids to Pilgrim's Pride Corporation, Tyson, McCain's Foods USA, ConAgra Foods, Inc., Schwan's Food Service, Inc., Jennie-0 Turkey Store, Rich's, Advance/Pierre, Land O’Lakes, Don Lee Farms, SA Pizza, Tasty Brands, Integrated, and Michael's Foods, Inc. Union will pay an additional $18,491.09 to the Department of Human Services for payment of the commodity assessment fees for 2017-18 from the Child Nutrition fund.

The Board of Education also awarded the commodity processing bid that will go to distributors for shipping and handling (since they do not meet minimum shipment levels) for Highliner Fish for an annual amount of $7,159.

So what is a commodity processing bid?

Each year the District receives commodities through the Department of Human Services, according to Director of Child Nutrition Lisa Griffin. These commodities – such as cheese, meats, eggs, potatoes, flour, etc. – can be shipped to the district and used directly, or the district can divert those raw commodities to a processor. Processors then will convert raw goods into prepared foods such as chicken nuggets, omelets, egg patties, deli meats, cheese slices, etc.

Child Nutrition will receive $552,567.89 in USDA/DHS-donated commodities for the 2017-18 school year. The amount of commodity received is determined by the total number of lunches served the previous year multiplied by the commodity allowance, which is $0.3287 per lunch meal.

“Diverting commodities into processed goods should result in a timelier and more controlled arrival of product, which positively affects our inventory control and will provide a safer supply of food for our students,” Griffin stated.

Bond funds used to make improvements around the district

Board members approved several projects around the district, using bond funds previously approved by voters in elections. These expenditures include:

  • Purchase of video recorders, cameras and installation on school buses from Seon for $114,104. (Some funds will come from the general fund).
  • Replacement of a hot water pump at the 8th Grade Center for $144,600. McIntosh Services was awarded the bid.
  • Replacement of the High School chiller from Henderson Engineers, Inc., for $56,250.

Board recognizes National Merit students

The Board of Education recognized the 2016-2017 National Merit Finalists and Commended student during a reception before the meeting.

Union’s Merit Finalists are as follows:

  • Colton J. Benningfield, son of Gregg and Susan Benningfield of Tulsa;
  • Abigail B. Cornett, daughter of Nancy Cornett of Broken Arrow;
  • Timothy D. McMullen, son of John and Kay McMullen of Tulsa;
  • Daniel C. Royer, son of Michael and Marla Royer of Tulsa;
  • Stephanie K. Royer, daughter of Christopher and Grace Royer of Tulsa;
  • Wade G. Witcher,  son of Joey and Lisa Witcher of Broken Arrow; and
  • Bella Zhan, daughter of Xiaodong and Jinyi Wang Zhan of Broken Arrow

Theresa Nguyen, daughter of Thang and Thye Nguyen of Tulsa, was also recognized as a Merit Commended student.

Board recognizes state championship football team

The Board of Education recognized the 2016-2017 6A1 State Championship Football team and congratulated them on their stellar performance. Head coach Kirk Fridrich, speaking on behalf of student athletes and coaches, accepted the honor.

“It was quite an amazing feat,” said Coach Fridrich. “This team of over 150 players had an average GPA of over 3.03. We are very proud of – and continue to pursue – maximum participation, as well as championships and being outstanding citizens of the community and in the classroom.”

Union defeated Norman North High School 57-43, beating the same team that had won the regular season meeting on October 14.

Phil McCoy to represent Union on CAP board

Board members appointed Phil McCoy to continue serving on their behalf on the Board of Directors for CAP Tulsa (Community Action Project), representing Union for the next three years. McCoy has served on the Board since 2014.

McCoy is the senior vice president and director of management accounting at Bank of Oklahoma.

CAP Tulsa is one of the largest anti-poverty agencies in Oklahoma, and serves as a primary partner with Union for the Rosa Parks Early Childhood Education Center. CAP Tulsa aims not only to prepare young children for future success in school, but also their parents through programs designed to increase parenting skills, employability, and earning potential.