The Stillwater Public Schools Board of Education discussed open board seats, construction projects and the district’s general fund balance during Tuesday night’s regular board meeting.
Both Ward 4 and Ward 5 seats will soon be up for grabs. Interested candidates must live within the ward boundaries they would be representing. Filing period at the Payne County Election Board is 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 2-4. If three or more people file for a seat, a primary election would occur Feb. 11, 2020. If two candidates file, the election will be April 7.
Ward 4 is currently represented by Dustin Reavis, who was appointed to the open seat in April. If he runs unopposed, he will be appointed to the remaining four-years of the five-year term, ending in 2024.
Bob Graalman currently represents Ward 5 but has announced he won’t be running for re-election.
Another topic of discussion was major renovation and construction projects at multiple school sites throughout the district.
Much of the focus was on the new $26 million Westwood Elementary — which had its first day of school when the rest of the district was on their eight day of classes — and the numerous items that remain unfinished.
Board member Camille DeYong voice her frustration at how long things are taking to be completed.
“We are in the seventh week of school and we thought this school would be ready,” DeYong said. “Our people are pulling their hair out.”
Michael Feamster, Nabholtz’ new executive vice president for operations for the region, then apologized.
“You really don’t need to apologize to me,” DeYong said. “You need to apologize to teachers and kids.”
In the past two weeks Nabholtz Construction has tripled its manpower, working nights and weekends to complete projects both inside and outside the school, according to Feamster.
Working to get the gymnasium ready for use is a top priority over fall break (Oct. 17-20).
Another topic the board spent quite a bit of time talking about was the general fund balance and what percentage or range makes since.
The initial proposal was to maintain a general fund balance ranging from 9.5 to 13.5% but DeYong felt that was too high, and after much discussion, the board agreed on and approved a range of 9 to 11%.
That money is used to cover cash flow needs, including payroll late in the year, emergency’s and potential revenue cuts.
In the board meeting agenda, the district wrote, “The district’s overall goal is to achieve financial stability in order to provide security for teachers, protect instructional priorities, and to create a more stability in the teaching and learning environment.”