After significant debate, Mustang Public Schools’ Board of Education accepted a $400,000 bid for MetroSign to design, install and erect a new video board at the high school football stadium.
The item passed 2-to-1.
Member Jeff Landrith said he was concerned with spending $400,000 on a new video board when facilities need HVAC replacements.
“That’s a want, not a need,” Landrith said.
He advised to wait on voting on the item.
While he said he understood the desire to have a higher video resolution during football games and other events, more money should be poured into classrooms. He asked if the district could fix the board for less and wait on purchasing a brand new one.
Board President Todd Lovelace said the district will always need to address HVAC, roofing and electrical.
“Everything you listed in the (April) bond issue we needed; we still need. That didn’t change,” Landrith said. “It’s almost if we don’t have to, a slap in the face to say, ‘Hey we found almost half a million dollars for a new sign. That’s not going to go over well.”
Athletic Director Robert Foreman said the current video board has reached its end of life and a new one will bring life to the stadium.
Although the district has many needs, Foreman said the new board is a pressing need for not only athletics, but nearly every student in some capacity. Sports broadcasting classes will be able to utilize the board.
He also shared Band Director Ryan Edgmon had to turn away events because of an ineffective score board and sound system. There is no sound on the visitor’s side of the stadium.
Foreman also mentioned the athletic department is the district’s No. 1 source of income.
For three and a half years, Foreman said he has pushed back getting a new board. Chief Financial Officer Nancy McKay said the general fund has saved about $1.3 million since Foreman took over.
Landrith inquired what exactly needed to be fixed on the current board. It needs $49,000 worth of repairs.
Superintendent Charles Bradley said the district received a $50,000 private donation and had funds from the refinanced 2012 bond issue. About $225,000 is remaining and a portion will go toward HVAC systems, Director of Communications Kirk Wilson said.
As the current board is 13 years old, Bradley said parts may not be available. Board clerk Stacy Oldham said there comes a point where fixing parts doesn’t cut it anymore.
Geromy Schrick, executive director of technology, said the problems have been occurring annually and the components that have been fixed cannot be identified.
“I think Geromy said it best, it’s like taking a Ferrari engine and trying to stuff it into a Pinto,” Foreman said.
Schrick also anticipated the board would cost a minimum of $50,000.
The new Watchfire board will be 30 feet wide and 23.5 feet tall. Foreman said the more user-friendly board is expected to last 10-15 years.
In the time Foreman has been with the district, about $17,000 has been put into the current board.
“This will be huge for our community,” he said.
There will still be yearly maintenance on the new board and MetroSign will have a technician on site for every football game, as well as some Fine Arts events, Foreman said.
COVID-19 precaution plans still ongoing for next school year
Regarding safety procedures in lieu of the pandemic for the 2021-2022 school year, Bradley said the discussion has remained the same about masks being optional in-person. All the same options, regarding virtual and blended learning formats that were available last year, will be the same for 2021-2022.
More conversations will continue to be had for specific plans, like Open House, he said. Jan Fox, Canadian County Health Department regional director, recently met with Bradley and Lovelace and told them the district is exactly where it needs to be.
She will be working with the county health department to see if there is more local data they can look at in the meantime before school begins. There have been several COVID-19 incidents since May, such as at Bronco Club and camps, but nothing widespread, Bradley said.
Bradley will also be taking into consideration new legislation that was passed regarding masks, vaccinations and mandates in schools.
Senate Bill 658 says school districts must have conversations with a county or the state health department before issuing a mask mandate. Gov. Kevin Stitt also must declare an emergency. The mask mandate must then be on districts’ agendas for each meeting to be discussed again.
The district still has the ability to close a classroom where an outbreak occurred, rather than temporarily shutting down a school.
“Basically, it takes out reliance on local data that if something is flaring up, you lose a little bit of flexibility,” Bradley said. “That’s what we have to navigate through.”
Bradley will present a plan of procedures no later than the July 12 board meeting, where action will be taken.
Some MPS teachers to receive dyslexia training
In business news, the board approved 15 Edgenuity electives.
The members also approved leasing and purchasing 600 iPads and cases for students for $197,000.
Federal funds that the district will receive when school starts will pay for the devices. The 600 iPads will replace end-of-life devices.
The board also approved an agreement with the Oklahoma State Department of Education for participation in the Early Learning Inventory Pilot Study. Mustang was selected for the pilot program that identifies dyslexia.
Early childhood education teachers will undergo dyslexia training, screenings and interventions. Each school district is not required to participate. The state will be paying a stipend for four MPS teachers.
Members also approved a one-year contract with Florida Virtual School for licenses for 70 students, as the district experienced some Broncos who wished to learn virtually last year because of the pandemic. The virtual school will still be Mustang Virtual Academy.
Applications for the academy went live March 9, and the district received 70 applicants.
Students recognized for the month of May
As part of the district’s Mindset Matters program, more students were recognized for their positive attitude.
• Ava Emery at Centennial Elementary;
• Nayeli Coppock at Mustang Creek Elementary;
• Sara Saenz at Mustang Elementary;
• Cooper Willrath at Lakehoma Elementary;
• Kinley Copeland at Mustang Trails Elementary;
• Quan Vu at Mustang Valley Elementary;
• En San at Prairie View Elementary;
• Madeline Letson at Riverwood Elementary;
• Vallerei Relator at the Mustang Education Center;
• Katelynn Podoll at Canyon Ridge Intermediate;
• Lucy Beard at Meadow Brook Intermediate;
• Justyce Graves at Mustang Horizon Intermediate;
• Averee Hooper at Mustang Central Middle School;
• Brock Fields at Mustang North Middle School;
• Caleb Cope at Mustang South Middle School;
• Chelsea Welle at Mustang High School.
In September, the board will recognize Mindset Matters students in-person at board meetings.
In member news, Vice President Chad Schroeder and member Dedra Stafford were absent.