After a 20-minute discussion, the Poteau Public Schools Board of Education approved the new transfer policy as set out by Oklahoma State School Boards Association (OSSBA) that will take effect Jan. 1 during the November board meeting Monday night at the Bert Corr Administration Building.

Essentially, the soon-to-be new transfer policy will make changes in accepting transfer students, namely dealing with limit of how many as well as doing away with the emergency transfer policy that is currently in place.

In Poteau Public Schools Board of Education President Ron Hall's motion, he also not only recommended to accept the new policy but also the added stipulation of when any transfer appeals are made that a report be made to be given to the board as well as the opportunity for the parent(s) and his/her/their attorney to give a document stating why the appeal is being made for the board to look at as well.

In other matters, the board approved a $1,000 stipend for full-time staff and a $500 stipend for part-time staff due to the risks they are taking under the issues caused by all the COVID-19 pandemic issues.

"I just wanted to make sure we had the funds to do this," Poteau Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Don Sjoberg said.

The board approved an insurance correction of $4,025.28 for last school year due to a coding error in which two staff members got money incorrectly withdrawn from their paychecks when it should not have been.

The board also approved two extra-duty assignments to the district's list — Kim Allison for curriculum and instruction and a position when filled to be the Choctaw Student Youth Advisory Board sponsor with a stipend of $10,000. Sjoberg said the Choctaw Student Youth Advisory Board deals with students, Tribal and non-Tribal, who are in grades eight through 12 to help develop leadership skills for those students among other things.

To begin the meeting, Lisa Pate addressed the board with her concerns regarding the extra-duty assignment list, such as possibly overworking some staff members to being more open as to what such duties are and to whom they are assigned.

In other personnel matters, the board approved Debbie Johnston for special services and Jarrod Ridenour as a geography teacher.

The board approved the annual election resolution with dates for seat No. 2, currently held by Deann Williams. The filing dates will be Dec. 6-8, the primary election will take place Feb. 8 and the general election April 6.

Williams was approved to keep her current status as the OSSBA legislative liaison for the Poteau Public Schools district.

The board approved the art class fundraiser, approved the addition to the salary schedule to try to help retain as well as possible get teachers and support staff for special education students as well as approved using the ACT as the official test for district assessments of students — although any student is welcome to take the SAT test if desired.

Poteau Campus Director Micheal Culwell updated the board about the technology center's enrollment. He said that last school year, Kiamichi Tech had 97 Poteau High School students in their career training programs, with 95 this semester. All total, 375 students are attending Kiamichi Tech this semester.

While not brought up in Monday night's meeting, Kiamichi Tech had a special "Reality Check" program in which several Poteau freshmen went Oct. 26 to the Donald W. Reynolds Community Center where all the freshmen who attended one of two sessions essentially got to be an adult in trying to keep a budget and buying things that were desired or needed and still stay on budget.

Sjoberg said that "numbers (of students and faculty who have the COVID-19 virus) are down," so he had no new or amended recommendations to the current reopening guidelines at this time.

Poteau Public Schools Auditor Jeff Jenkins presented the 2020-21 audit, with no real issues of concern. The board unanimously approved the audit report.

Poteau Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Vallerie Martin gave her financial reports. The general fund started November at $1,348,679, the building fund at $757,934, the child nutrition fund at $634,397, the bond fund at $514,932, the sinking fund at $58,748, insurance recovery fund at $378,426 and the activity fund at $613,836.

As for encumbrances, Martin reported the general fund is at $204,986, the building fund is at $6,851 and the cafeteria fund at $176,185.

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