By ROB W. ANDERSON
Following Superintendent Billie Jordan’s rehiring in January, Keys High School Principal Leon Ashlock and Elementary Principal Robin Gibson saw their contracts renewed at Thursday’s monthly Board of Education meeting in the high school library.
The meeting was originally slated for Feb. 14, but was rescheduled due to the Valentine’s Day holiday and Jordan’s need to attend a state superintendents’ meeting.
Jordan said the details of her contract were finalized during Thursday’s meeting.
“The board offered me and I accepted a three-year contract,” she said. “The board will sign [Ashlock’s and Gibson’s] contracts at a later date.”
Jordan said the board also adopted a resolution to support education reform efforts, but additional time to fully implement these changes was requested.
“That was something the [Oklahoma] State School Boards Association asked school boards to look at. The resolution is just asking for delays in some of the mandates,” Jordan said. “Other school districts will probably be doing that as well. It’s just a way of saying they’ve given us so many mandates that we would like to delay implementation of those by a couple of years to get ready and learn more about the Common Core Standards.”
Jordan gave an update on the state Legislature to provide board members with the latest budget developments, and to seek patrons’ help in urging lawmakers to rethink cuts to education funding.
“I talked to [the board] about the districts across the state and the flat or negative funding received the past four years. Back in December, we lost $32,000 because [the state] had a per-pupil decrease,” Jordan said. “We’re just urging people to contact their legislators. We’ve had to make some drastic cuts here. We can’t keep cutting our way through all of these reductions. We’ve cut all that we can. The legislators are going to have to support what we need.”
Jordan said the Keys school district is promoting participation in a parent and community group, the Cherokee County Parent Legislative Action Committee, which held its first meeting Jan. 23 at Indian Capital Technology Center.
A representative of the Tulsa PLAC was at the meeting to provide information and history on the parent-education group, which works with school districts to identify needs and target areas for lobbying at the state capitol.
Each Cherokee County school district is seeking to identify a parent or community member concerned about public education to lead their respective groups.
“I’ve seen what is done in other communities,” said Jordan. “When we had the state meeting to discuss the A-F [school grading system] report, there were representatives from those parent groups there, and they had a lot more leverage with the state school board than the superintendents did. [The state board] expects it from the superintendents, but to hear it from the community members. It just had a little different impact.”
To learn more about the Cherokee County Parent Legislative Action Committee, parents and/or concerned community members are urged to contact their respect school districts for information or go to ww.okplac.com to gather background history on the Tulsa PLAC.