Mustang Public Schools’ Board of Education joined about 125 other schools across Oklahoma in initiating legal action against the state board of education at its Monday night meeting.
They are joining to stop and reverse the state board’s decision to address funding equalization of public and charter schools. The March 25 decision of the Oklahoma State Board of Education was to settle a lawsuit between the Oklahoma Public Charter School Association and the state board of education.
The association would have access to ad valorem monies from public schools’ building fund and general fund dollars.
“The general consensus is by doing that was a violation of the Constitution,” said Superintendent Charles Bradley. “The Legislature had decided that charter schools are not the same as public schools … if that decision is codified by the Legislature, then what would happen to us immediately, would be the diversion of our funds.”
Superintendent determining Plan B after bond fails
Regarding the April 6 bond failing, Bradley said the needs will not go away. The district is determining what can be postponed and what funds could be pulled.
A new bond will be presented in at least the next four months, he said.
In bond sale news, the board authorized selling two from the 2017 and 2012 elections. The general obligation combined purpose bonds and building bonds series will be sold and close May 10.
The combined purpose bonds of $9.7 million will be for sale at 10 a.m. It will have a five-year maturity.
The building bonds of $6.5 million will be for sale at 10:30 a.m. A summary of the bids for both bond series will be presented at the May 10 board meeting.
Local data, vaccination success
A universal mask policy in place throughout the district has allowed MPS to recently adopt the state’s physical distancing change from 6 feet to 3 feet for students in classrooms. Staff must remain 6 feet apart from other teachers.
Bradley said the district’s reliance on local data drove the decision.
“To have the color-coded matrix would be more confusing because we haven’t been following it in some cases,” he said. “… What parents and students need to know is we’re going to school every day — four days for the high school.”
Rather than being held to a color, like the county is, the district would rely on its own data as to whether or not to close a classroom or site down if an outbreak occurs, Bradley said. The reduction in distancing also keeps more students in classrooms, he said.
The district is looking at opening individual facilities to allow events with limited capacity, as well. Out of state travel for staff is also being evaluated, as well as indoor camps.
District lead nurse Tammy Kain said about 75% of staff and faculty members have been fully vaccinated. Bradley expects more as staff have been vaccinated at clinics off campus.
April 22 will be the first vaccine clinic for MPS students 16 and older with parental consent. The Pfizer clinic will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Mustang Event Center.
Students who are eligible to participate will receive their second dose May 13. Pfizer is the only vaccine those who are 16 can receive.
City, district growth continues
In financial news, Chief Financial Officer Nancy McKay said the general operating fund balance has more than doubled in the last five years because of the district’s growth. This year’s fund balance was about $100 million.
In CARES Act funds, MPS is expected to receive between $5 million and $6 million.
McKay also said the district received its largest mortgage tax increase this month. Units have more than doubled this year.
Students recognized for attitude; board reorganized
In Bronco recognition news, Ryan McKinney, assistant superintendent of secondary education, presented more students who have maintained a positive attitude for its Mindset Matters initiative.
• Lathan Aday from Centennial Elementary;
• Makaylah Nero from Mustang Creek Elementary;
• Brooks Heusman from Mustang Elementary;
• Deacon Grider from Lakehoma Elementary;
• Casen Haskins from Mustang Trails Elementary;
• Josiah Godin from Mustang Valley Elementary;
• Charlie Reichert from Prairie View Elementary;
• Avery Arnett from Riverwood Elementary;
• Cesar Frausto from the Mustang Education Center;
• Lian Khual from Canyon Ridge Intermediate;
• Ethan Hubbard from Meadow Brook Intermediate;
• Weslyn McCorvey from Mustang Horizon Intermediate;
• Hudson Murray from Mustang Central Middle School;
• Marcus Cline from Mustang North Middle School;
• Leonardo Arevalo from Mustang South Middle School and
• Abbigail Weaver from Mustang High School.
In member news, the board reorganized four of its seats. Todd Lovelace became board president; Chad Schroeder became vice president; Stacy Oldham became clerk; and Jeff Landrith became deputy clerk.