By JOSH NEWTON
Administrators at Tahlequah Public Schools plan to invest around $2 million in the coming year for infrastructure needs and employee stipends.
Board members of the district approved one-time stipends for all TPS employees during Monday evening’s monthly meeting. All full-time certified staff will receive $1,000 each; full-time support staff will receive $750; part-time support staff will receive $500 each; and administrators will each receive $1,000.
The stipends will cost the district an estimated $507,000.
TPS is also set to spend about $1.5 million on advancements in technology, safety and transportation. Spending the money out of the district’s general fund is expected to help TPS comply with state budget-cap laws.
Superintendent Lisa Presley said the district wants to purchase more vehicles that are economical, safer, and more accommodating to the district’s needs.
“We’ve also talked about upgrading security measures, which is one of the top priorities,” said Presley.
Listed among the potential security upgrades was installation of access-controlled doors at all sites. Those would include video cameras at the entrance doors, Presley said, and would allow staff inside the school site to see who was visiting the campus and then decide whether to allow them inside.
The district also wants to make technology upgrades, including working on existing computer labs and adding labs at some sites. Presley said district officials are planning to attend a technology conference this summer, and will then have more specific intentions.
Presley said the district has had a “challenging year” with shuffling of teachers and staff, a new school, redistricting and implementation of Common Core standards and a new evaluation system for teachers. She commended the district for having “a professionalism that is second to none” in the process.
“The schools have come together and developed, and became school families,” said Presley. “We’re a healthy district, and we want to invest that money. These are smart things to do.”