YPS puts federal employees to work

The Yukon Public Schools did its part to keep federal workers busy during recent furloughs.

Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said the district hired almost a dozen workers as substitute teachers, and then also opened Yukon High School as a distribution site for the Regional Food Bank to provide food.

Simeroth said the district had 22 people sign up for substitute teacher training, and about 11 people were hired and took 28 assignments.

As for the food distribution program, about 22 families took advantage of the services offered by the Regional Food Bank.

Simeroth said those workers will remain active on the district’s substitute list because of the threat of another shutdown later this month if a deal can’t be reached between President Donald Trump and members of Congress on a funding measure.

“That’s just our little opportunity to give back to the people who give to us in such a generous, overwhelming fashion on a daily basis. We were honored to do so,” Simeroth said. “We will do it again, if we need to.”

Simeroth said the food bank also is welcome to return.

Also during Monday’s meeting, the school board voted to participate in a lawsuit challenging a reduction in funding that resulted from a state tax commission error related to vehicle registration fees.

Yukon is one of several schools across the state who received additional funding based on their average daily attendance over a 13-month period.

A 2016 court case challenged how the money was disbursed. A Nov. 13 ruling in Oklahoma County found that the districts received too much funding and that money should be returned and redistributed.

The decision could cost Yukon as much as $633,618.75.

Under the ruling, which was issued by Oklahoma County Judge Patricia Parrish, a portion of the district’s motor vehicle tax money will be withheld each month until it all is returned.

During Monday’s meeting, the district hired Spencer Fane to file a challenge to Parrish’s ruling, arguing that the formula from which the funds were distributed is flawed.

The district was expected to begin seeing its motor vehicle registration funds reduced in January. The total being withheld is about $50,000.

Mustang and Piedmont also are facing similar situations. Mustang’s school board was to meet early Saturday in a special meeting to discuss also joining the lawsuit.

Mustang is expected to lose about $1.5 million, while Piedmont is losing $778,277.

Mustang’s school board was to meet early Saturday in a special meeting to discuss also joining the lawsuit.

El Reno, Calumet and Union City all would receive additional funds under the ruling.

RANCHWOOD MUSIC

The school board also heard from Ranchwood Elementary School music teacher Candy Myer, who recently participated in a summer program in the Czech Republic. The program was funded through a grant from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.

“My dream as a music teacher was to travel to Europe, where music began,” she said.

“I had the adventure of a lifetime,” Myer said.

The trip involved two weeks of working with musicians between the ages of 16 and 80.

The trip, she said, gave her an opportunity to learn about the roots of music. She brought that experience back to Ranchwood, where her students began the year learning about Johann Sebastian Bach.

Myer said she was able to blend the old with the new.

“My students are what brought my grant to life,” Myer said.

The lessons she brought back with her help students learn about everything from music to math.

Myer said 1,300 teachers across Oklahoma applied for the grant.

“This will be a huge part of my classroom, ongoing,” she said.

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