Posted Date: 05/11/2021
Board Modifies Mask Usage Requirements
The Board of Education voted to modify Union’s mask requirements at the recommendation of administration. Effective June 1, masks and face coverings will not be required inside Union buildings – although mask use will be recommended. Effective May 11, students will not be required to wear masks if they are outdoors.
The district currently requires all staff and students to wear a mask or face covering when in the presence of others, which will continue through the end of the school year.
“Based on the recent change in local government requirements, the availability of vaccinations to all adults, and the current drop in COVID-19 cases,” Associate Superintendent Charlie Bushyhead stated in a memo, “I am recommending the district modify the mask requirement in all venues, inside and out. Staff, students, and patrons will still have the option to wear a face covering for preventative reasons but may not require others to wear a face covering – except for entities who choose to require masks when they rent our facilities or host events in our facilities. Enforcement of their guidelines will be their responsibility.”
If there is a change in the number of Covid cases or requirements by local authorities regarding masks, Union officials may reevaluate the decision. The district will continue to contact trace and quarantine as necessary.
Board Approves Administrative Changes
The Board of Education approved a number of administrative changes, including the selection of new directors for Special Services and Transportation.
Lindsay Smith was named the new director of Special Services. Smith, who had served as principal of Moore Elementary, replaces Deborah Wolin, who is retiring this year. Becky King, who is assistant principal at Rosa Parks Elementary, will serve as the new principal for Moore Elementary.
Susan Pettit, who has been serving as assistant transportation director, was named director of Transportation. She will replace Gary Greenhill, who is retiring after many years of service. Joining Pettit will be Robert Harris as assistant director for Transportation; he has been serving as an assistant principal at the 8th Grade Center.
Marla Robinson, who is currently the senior class principal, was named the new director of the College and Career Center. Briane Grass, who is an assistant principal at the High School, was promoted to principal at the High School.
The Board also approved a number of requests from employees who sought retirement under the district’s early retirement incentive program.
In addition, the Board approved the appointment of new members to subcommittees; Joey Reyes was appointed to the Building Subcommittee; and Chris McNeil joined the Co-Curricular Subcommittee.
Board Approves Construction, Improvement Projects
Board members approved a number of improvement projects around the district, many using bond funds approved by voters, including $2.9 million project for air conditioning improvements at Jarman Elementary School.
The Jarman project will upgrade the school’s roof with a new HVAC system, new lighting, new network cabling and a new fire alarm system. The project changes the building environment from a damp, two-pipe chiller system with untreated outdoor air ventilation to a VRF heat recovery system with modulated treated outdoor air ventilation. Other improvements will be new acoustical tile drop-ceilings throughout the building.
Other approved improvement projects include:
Board Awards Audit Contract
Following the advice of Chief Financial Officer Trish Williams, the Board of Education awarded the annual audit contract to RSM US LLP Certified Public Accountants for the 2020-2021 fiscal year at a cost not to exceed $89,000.
State law requires that each school district contract with a state-approved and licensed professional auditor to perform an annual external audit on the financial records and internal controls of the district.
Board Approves Various Technology Needs Purchases
Board members approved several purchase requests to help Union Public Schools meet technology needs, including a two-year subscription extension for Infinite Campus, costing $400,909.
Infinite Campus is the district student information system that houses student enrollment and demographic data, and provides functional operation and record keeping for student attendance, schedules, grading, transcripts, behavior and other areas.
In related action, Board members:
Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler and former Board member Lisa Ford
Board Recognizes Lisa Ford, Jeff Bennett for Service
Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler recognized Lisa Ford (Zone 2) and Jeff Bennett (Zone 1) for their commitment and years of service as former Board members. Bennett recently retired from the Board after 16 years and Ford resigned after four years to run for a seat on the Broken Arrow City Council, which she won.
“As you well know, being a Board member is a tough job, especially in light of the extraordinary year we have gone through as a school district and as a nation,” said Hartzler. “I have a tremendous heart for people who commit themselves to this charge. As CEO of the board, I can’t do the job without these individuals and our district can’t function without them, and they do it with a servant’s heart. I am privileged to recognize a couple of our board members who helped navigate this difficult year.
“We congratulate Lisa Ford on her victory, as she campaigned and now serves on the Broken Arrow City Council. She will continue to represent Union very well. Certainly, the Ford family is very important to Union Public Schools.” Her husband, Ross Ford, is a former Board member and legislator.
Ford, who was presented with a crystal award, said, “I enjoyed my time on the Union School Board. Union will always have a special place in my heart.”
Bennett has the distinction of having been the longest-serving board member, at 16 years. “Last week, I traveled throughout the district, and Jeff’s name is on a lot of buildings,” said Hartzler, including Rosa Parks and Ellen Ochoa elementary schools. “Sixteen years is quite a testament to having a servant’s heart. Jeff and I haven’t always agreed on things, and you wouldn’t always know it. When it came time for the vote, however, Jeff would always surprise me and say, ‘This is what I believe is best for students.’ I have always so appreciated that. Jeff, you will always be a colleague and a friend. Thank you.”
Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler and former Board member Jeff Bennett
Who represents you on the Union Public Schools Board of Education?
Board member Heather McAdams received this question from a parent of a child at the Union 6th/7th Grade Center recently.
“Union’s Board of Education members are elected to represent a specific population area of the district based on a census that divides residents as equally as possible,” McAdams said. “So how do you know who ‘your’ board member is? The answer, strictly speaking, is look for the board member who holds the seat corresponding to the board zone with your address.”
McAdams said, “Here’s the reality, however. The board is here to serve the district. We want what is best for every student, family, teacher, and employee of the district. While we do represent a specific part of the district population, any one of us is happy to help you regardless of your board zone. At Union, we work hard to be a united board, keeping our goals district centered. So a board member does not have to be ‘your’ board member in order to help you, just like we don’t only help ‘our zone’ students or schools.”
So what does the board do?
The school board functions as an overarching governing body.
“This means we don’t make the more everyday decisions like which teacher your student has, or if they get to play on a specific team,” McAdams said. “We have the job of providing the framework and rules for the district, overseeing how the district money is spent, and approving contracts to keep the district functioning. However, we are all willing and happy to hear your concerns, we are your representatives after all! It’s true that we can’t fix problems we don’t know we have. So please feel free to reach out to ‘your’ or any board member with your concerns, and we can get you directed to the correct people to help fix the issue.”
You can always visit https://www.unionps.org/schoolboard to learn more.
To view a list of all the Board members, visit: https://www.unionps.org/BoardMembers
Pictured are members of the Union Public Schools Board of Education, from left to right, Board Clerk Heather McAdams, Superintendent Dr. Hartzler, Board President Stacey Roemerman, Deputy Clerk Chris McNeil, Board Member Joey Reyes, and Vice President Ken Kinnear.