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Board Report - February 10


Posted Date: 03/12/2020

Board Report - February 10

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Board approves 2020-21 School Calendar

The Board of Education on second reading approved the 2020-2021 school calendar (first reading was Monday, January 20). The new calendar has the first day of school starting on Thursday, August 13, which is about a week earlier than is typical for the district. However, the upside is that it would enable families to take off the entire week of Thanksgiving, providing greater balance between the first and second semesters. January 4, 2021, would be the start date for the spring semester. The last day of school – if no snow days were used – would be May 18. In the event all snow days are used, May 31 would be the last day. View the calendar here.

Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler said public reaction was overwhelmingly in favor of the proposed calendar. “The majority of people felt like having the full week of Thanksgiving off would be a benefit for families. We will try it for a year. If we find this calendar is not as great as we thought it would be, we will revisit the issue and come back with another plan.”  

The board unanimously approved the proposed calendar. 

Board Seat Election April 7 for District 5

Ken KinnearBrandon S. SwearenginCitizens living in Union’s Board of Education’s District 5 will head to the polls on Tuesday, April 7 to choose two candidates. Running are incumbent Board President Ken Kinnear and challenger Brandon Swearengin. 

Kinnear is treasurer of Kaiser Francis Oil Company and was elected to Union’s Board of Education in 2015, and has served more than 10 years as a member of the Long-Range Planning Committee.  Kinnear is a former president of the Union Baseball Booster Club and treasurer of the Basketball Booster Club. His three sons have attended Union schools K-12.  

Swearengin is a graduate of Tulsa Community College and the University of Oklahoma, with degrees in accounting. Additionally, he has worked as a tax preparer at DP Financial & Tax Inc. for several years, and has worked as a private policy consultant at the state capitol to pass legislation in education and other policy areas. He is a Union lifer, having spent all of K-12 in the Union district as a student. 

Only those registered voters living within District 5 may vote. District 5 (pictured here) is bounded on the east by Garnett and on the west by Yale Ave. with its northernmost border at 76th Pl. 

To seek election to a Board seat, candidates must have resided and been a registered voter for at least six months preceding the first day of the filing period in the Board district open for election, and all candidates must hold a high school diploma or a certificate of high school equivalency. 

Please vote on April 7 if you live in District 5.

All-State Band and Orchestra winners recognized

All-State Band and Orchestra winners recognized

Charles PisarraCharles Pisarra, director of Union Bands, recognized the award-winning students who participated in the 2019-2020 high school instrumental and vocal music all-state competition.  Union received a number of significant awards for musical excellence.  Honored were:  

  • Isabella Agadagba, Senior, Alto Voice, Chorus
  • Blake Chilcoat, Senior, Percussion, Alternate
  • Keaton Cissell, Senior, Percussion, Orchestra, ranked 5th place in the state
  • Addison Darby, Junior, Cello, Orchestra, ranked 3rd place
  • Ben Edwards, Senior, French Horn, Orchestra 
  • Jorge Escalera, Senior, Trumpet, Jazz Ensemble
  • Christopher Flippo, Sophomore, Bass Voice, Chorus
  • Evan Grim, Junior, Percussion, Orchestra, 1st place
  • Alan Liu, Senior, Percussion, Orchestra
  • Alex Moyer, Senior, Alto Saxophone, Wind Symphony, 4th place
  • Cassidy Prag, Senior, Flute, Symphonic Band
  • Abigail Ren, Junior, Clarinet, Orchestra, 2nd place
  • Kyle Shanahan, Senior, Bass Clarinet, Alternate 
  • Xavier Williams, Junior, Clarinet, Wind Symphony, 1st place

During the fall, these students auditioned in multiple rounds among thousands of their peers statewide to earn a spot on the all-state band, jazz band, orchestra, or choir roster. Earning this honor culminated in mid-January when the premiere music students from around the state gathered in downtown Tulsa for a three-day clinic with guest conductors, concluded by an all-state honor concert, as part of the Oklahoma Music Educators Association annual convention. 

Board approves bids for work at new stadium

Board members accepted bids from Crossland Construction Company, Inc., for $445,755 for work associated with a new stadium at the High School.

The work will include soil stabilization and preparation of the site to receive building footings and pier structures. The work is for the area of the west stadiums only. By approving this aspect of the project now, the company can move ahead on the west stadium construction while bidding for the stadium is being considered.

In other matters involving voter-approved projects funded by the February 13, 2018 bond election, the Board:

  • Authorized the sale of $29 million in building bonds, in accordance with voter approval on February 13, 2018. They will be offered for sale, beginning at 11 a.m. March 9. The Board will take action on the sale that night, during its next regularly scheduled meeting.
  • Accepted a bid for a warehouse freezer replacement project for $1.09 million from Builder’s Unlimited. This project will provide for new freezer space at the Operations warehouse.  The existing freezers will be replaced with new freezer enclosures, heated slab sections, and new condensing and evaporating equipment.  The new freezers will increase the current freezer space by 800 square feet.  The total area of new freezer space will be 3,500 square feet.
  • Approved the purchase of add-on band uniforms from Stanbury Uniforms, Inc., for $62,749. The purchase of 95 additional uniforms with bond money will accommodate the increasing numbers of students enrolled in Union’s growing instrumental music and marching band classes. “It will be enough to cover students who will be joining us for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in November,” said Band Director Pisarra. 

Board Approves Work for New Community Health Clinic

The Board approved an amendment to pay Flintco, LLC, $145,000 for work associated with the new Community Health Connection Medical Clinic next to Ellen Ochoa Elementary. 

This amendment will provide for wall tile in the restrooms; wall protection for walls in all corridors; new tile in the front lobby; and security cabling for the security and access control systems. This amendment will also replenish the project contingency fund, which is needed to address needs that may arise while the clinic is being set up and opened.  

The Board also approved the purchase of new dental equipment and instruments from Burkhart for $104,226. The Community Health Connection Clinic will have a dental office. These items will be purchased to equip it for the dental services that will be provided. 

Funding for these projects will come from the City of Tulsa’s Vision 2020 funds.

In other action, the Board:

  • Appointed Phil McCoy to represent the Board of Education on the Board of Directors for CAP Tulsa
  • Approved a blanket purchase to Apple and Eve LLC., for $50,000, and to US Foods Inc., for $150,000, from the Child Nutrition Fund. Child Nutrition Department requested funding to purchase more juice for students meals and a variety of others foods to finish out this school year.

Kinnear reflects on district’s progress under new strategic plan

Ken KinnearComing off his first five years on the Board of Education, President Ken Kinnear has much to be proud of with regard to the district’s progress. With a new strategic plan that has been in effect for almost since 2018, he shared his points of pride with attendees at last night’s board meeting.  

Close to his heart is the building of the district’s first indoor baseball/softball facility that opened in 2009. The parent of three Union “lifers” with wife, Melyssa, Kinnear’s involvement includes volunteer stints as a youth coach for several years in Union Youth Baseball and Union Youth Football, a decade in baseball, football, basketball and track booster clubs, including seven years as the president of baseball and two as treasurer for basketball. 

“The indoor baseball/softball facility opened in 2009, and it’s no coincidence that both softball and baseball recorded state championships immediately afterwards,” said Kinnear. “You won’t find my name on that building, but its opening was the culmination of countless meetings, multiple design iterations, and cost estimates to demonstrate the need and value of the facility. That process started in 2002, and was seven years in the making, and I was there for all of them.”  
Kinnear is also proud of several successful transitions that were large in their overall scope and value to the Union community. “The successful transition from the retirement of Debra Jacoby to the hiring of Dr. Trish Williams as Chief Financial Officer was particularly critical,” said Kinnear. “It’s not easy to replace a legend and that’s what Mrs. Jacoby is.  But we made a smooth, seamless transition, and Dr. Williams has become a legend in her own right.”

Union’s successful transition from annual bond programs to the district’s first 5-year series bond, which secured $128.6 million in funds for capital spending projects, is also a point of pride. “Our patrons have long seen the value in recurring annual bond programs,” said Kinnear. “With the 2018 offering, they also saw the wisdom in securing funding five years at a time for projects that will span multiple years, which is smart planning.” 

Kinnear also praised the Board and district leadership for their support of the teachers that resulted in a historic wake-up call to increase teacher pay in Oklahoma.

 “There is more work to do there, but we are making great strides,” said Kinnear. “Throughout this time we have retained – and I intend for us to continue to retain – three benefits that aren’t counted when comparisons between Union and our peer school districts. Those benefits include Union’s healthcare program; our ERI program; and our annual year-end stipend.  Last year, the stipend amount was 5 percent for returning teachers. Imagine that – receiving a bonus of five percent that doesn’t show up in salary comparisons. Regardless, when those benefits are valued, our overall compensation average is the highest among our peers.”    

While a lot of work remains to be done, Kinnear is happy with the decade he’s spent on the district’s Long-Range Planning Committee, and the last five years on the Union Board of Education.

“I have enjoyed serving with some of the finest colleagues I could ever be associated with,” he said. “Experience matters.”  

National Merit, Commended Scholars Recognized
Pictured are Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler, Breann D. Borlay, Tiffany Guo, Annslee Hiatt, Keegan Knouse, Anna McMullen, and Zachary Xu. Not pictured is Dalen Burns.

National Merit, Commended Scholars Recognized

Board members and Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler recognized seven seniors for their achievements in the 2019-2020 National Merit Scholarship competition.

Six of the seniors were named National Merit Semifinalists last fall:

  • Dalen Burns, son of David and Terea Burns of  Tulsa 
  • Tiffany Guo, daughter of Fei Guo and Yin Wu of Broken Arrow 
  • Annslee Hiatt, daughter of Dan and Melanie Hiatt of Broken Arrow 
  • Keegan Knouse, son of  Kelsy Knouse of Tulsa 
  • Anna McMullen, daughter of John & Kay McMullen of Tulsa 
  • Zachary Xu, son of Hang Xu and Jumao Wang of Broken Arrow

Breann D. Borlay, daughter of Manjoe and Lucinda Borlay of Tulsa, was recognized as a Commended Student as part of the same program last fall. 

Union Public Schools hosted a reception in their honor shortly before the meeting.

National Merit Finalists will be announced this month. Students who achieve this honor will continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered this spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition.

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8506 E. 61st Street
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74133
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