September 2020 meeting of the Board of Education

Donations, policies highlight Sept. Board Meeting
Posted on 09/16/2020
Sept. Meeting of the Sapulpa School Board of Education(SPS) - For the first time since March, the regular meeting of the Sapulpa Board of Education convened as scheduled.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, each meeting since April has been moved to a different time and day as well as held via videoconference to allow for those members who could not attend the meeting in person.

With the board room spaced to allow for social distancing, the meeting carried on with the members and those in attendance wearing masks.

Before the Board addressed the Consent Agenda, Superintendent Rob Armstrong asked to speak briefly about a few of the items that related to donations. Typically, the Board will approve Consent Agenda items in bulk with little to no discussion. Items III.X through III.AC specifically listed various donations to the district exceeding $75,000 in value.
  • III.X - This was a donation from the George F. Collins, Jr. Foundation in the amount of $55,800 for the purchase of “Go Bags” containing school supplies for our elementary school students in the event of distance learning. The idea is that when it is time to transition to learning at home, students will receive their assigned bag full of supplies and take it with them to continue their education remotely. The supplies are on order and will be in the elementary schools soon.
  • III.Y - This was a donation of new running shoes from Soles4Souls for JROTC cadets.
  • III.Z - This was a donation of 35 bags of school supplies from Reasors.
  • III.AA - This was a donation of $10,000 from the Make Sense Foundation for the district’s Food Pantry.
  • III.AB - This was a donation of $450 from the Oklahoma Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution for the district’s Revolutionary Day on the Hill.
  • III.AC - This was a donation of $10,000 from the Sapulpa Public Schools Foundation for the purchase of webcams for staff to help with distance learning and virtual learning.
“Through these kinds of donations, we’re able to provide supplies to our kids,” said Supt. Armstrong. “And, we couldn’t be more thankful for their generosity.”

The Board unanimously approved the Consent Agenda, including the donations, with a 4-0 vote.

During Information and Discussion Items, Assistant Superintendent Johnny Bilby reported the district currently has 3,552 students enrolled with 879 of those students classified as full-time virtual students. The virtual number represents a significant increase in the district’s enrollment in Sapulpa Virtual Academy from the 2019-2020 school year. To accommodate the influx of students, the district has reallocated and created resources to meet the needs of these students.
  • The district has positioned nine elementary school teachers to exclusively assist with the education of virtual students in PK through 5th grades.
  • A second Virtual Coordinator position was created to manage the more than 450 elementary school students in Sapulpa Virtual Academy. Previously, the district employed one Virtual Coordinator for the program. Elementary and Secondary are now split between two designated employees.
  • A virtual lab has been created at Liberty Elementary STEM Academy. This is in addition to the virtual lab at the High School for students in 6th through 12th grades.
  • Most secondary teachers have a designated hour in their schedule for full-time virtual instruction.
“We are giving the very best we have to offer to our students,” said Asst. Supt. Bilby about the district’s virtual offerings. “I’m really proud of the hard work and effort everyone has put into our virtual program.”

In Action Items, the Board approved the following new, revised, and/or deletion of several policies:

Adoption of policy 468 - Compliance with State and Federal Laws Regarding Employee Leave and Payroll Procedures. This new policy is designed to address rapidly-changing state and federal laws and regulations which may repeatedly impact existing district leave policies, like recent changes due to COVID-19. This pertains to certified employees.

Adoption of policy 469 - Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This is a new temporary policy, effective until Dec. 31, 2020, unless there is a change in federal law that extends specified leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Families First). It sets the parameters for paid leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA), each part of Families First. The policy contains an optional Intermittent Leave provision, pertaining to both EPSLA and EFMLEA leave. This pertains to certified employees.

Revision of policy 544.1.3 - Student Activity Drug Testing. The revision of this policy allows for a student who holds a valid medical marijuana license to participate in extracurricular activities.

Deletion of policy 706.2 and adoption of policies 718 and 720 - The Compliance with Regulations Regarding the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and Alcohol and Drug Testing for Bus Drivers policies require the district to use the newly-created FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse for pre- and on-going employment screening and for reporting its CDL drivers’ alcohol and drug violations. These reports are mandatory. Designed to work in concert, the revised and new policies include consent and information collection forms for use when complying with these new FMCSA requirements.

Adoption of policy 745 - Compliance with State and Federal Laws Regarding Employee Leave and Payroll Procedures. This new policy is designed to address rapidly-changing state and federal laws and regulations which may repeatedly impact existing district leave policies, like recent changes due to COVID-19. While this policy is suited for situations such as the pandemic, it applies to other circumstances in which frequent changes to the law affect provisions of existing leave and payroll policies before they can be officially amended. This pertains to support employees.

Adoption of policy 746 - Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This is a new temporary policy, effective until Dec. 31, 2020, unless there is a change in federal law that extends specified leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Families First). It sets the parameters for paid leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA), each part of Families First. The policy contains an optional Intermittent Leave provision, pertaining to both EPSLA and EFMLEA leave. This pertains to support employees.

Adoption of policy 951 - Emergency Preparedness and Management. This new policy was drafted in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and related school closures. It incorporates recent guidance from the State Department of Education’s Return to Learn Oklahoma guide and provides a broad framework of responses and procedures, including provisions for school closure and evacuation; administrator and board actions; and communications with students, employees, and stakeholders. It is designed to address general, health, and pandemic emergencies.

Adoption of policy 952 - Virtual, Hybrid, and Distance Learning. This new policy supplies an adaptable framework for schools to use when providing virtual and distance learning instruction to students due to district or school site closures or in other instances. It outlines how existing district policies will be affected, instruction delivered, attendance calculated and reported, and grading/promotion/retention determined. It also addresses special education and EL services. Additionally, the policy outlines how district personnel will serve students by specifying appropriate means of communication, office hour requirements, and the provision of support services (instructional, technical, social-emotional, special education).

Adoption of policy 953 - Telework During Extended School Closure. This new policy broadly outlines when and how district administration may authorize and select certain employees to work remotely (telework) when providing instruction or other services during extended closures or otherwise when due to the pandemic or similar circumstances. It provides when and how personnel may and will telework, their responsibilities, the conditions of the teleworking arrangement, performance and conduct requirements, and how telework impacts salary and benefits. This policy is inapplicable to telework as an ADA accommodation. This does not mean that telework is not available as an accommodation, but only that it is an ADA matter; telework decisions are made using traditional ADA analysis.

Each of the policies was approved by a unanimous 4-0 vote of the Board. The new and/or updated policies will be posted soon.

Before moving to Executive Session, the Board voted to approve the allocation of the Ronnie Lewis Memorial Scholarship Fund to Sapulpa Band for the purchase of a new semi-truck. The Fund has awarded a $1,000 scholarship to a deserving Band student for the last 14 years, however, the Trust that manages the Fund requested it is liquidated with the remaining balance to be used for the purchase of the new truck.

You may review the agenda and minutes of this meeting on our Public Portal. The next Regular Meeting of the Sapulpa School Board of Education is Monday, Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. inside the Washington Administrative Center board room.
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