The Tahlequah Public Schools Board of Education meeting was filled with song and guests Tuesday night.

The Tigers ROAR portion of the meeting featured Holly Sisk and members of the Tahlequah High School choir. Sisk explained the Ticket to Broadway competition the group attended in Colorado, and acknowledged the two THS students who placed third and first. Josie Foster won the event and will be performing on Broadway in New York City in October. Eleven of the students at the meeting performed for the board and attendees.

TPS Athletic Director Matt Cloud gave an overview of the Hall of Fame dinner held Feb. 8, and announced that a Tahlequah Athletic Foundation has been formed. Cloud said in about six or seven years, the foundation could give THS Athletics $300,000 a year.

Central Academy Director Natalie Cloud discussed the programs at the site, including adult basic education, family literacy, Short Term Alternative Placement, and the backpack program. Central currently has 52 students, including two teen parents, 10 Cherokee Nation youth shelter residents, 34 displaced or unaccompanied minors, and 15 virtual students. The former "boot school" is now called Tahlequah Behavioral Modification Program, and it currently has 17 students. Cloud also introduced three Central students who each said a little about how the school and its staff has helped them.

The 2020-2021 school calendar was approved. Superintendent Leon Ashlock said it is similar to this year's calendar, but there are three less days which was an outcome of negotiations with the Tahlequah Education Association.

Negotiations with the Tahlequah Police Department were also brought up in Ashlock's report. Currently, TPS supplies 50 percent of the benefits and salaries of the seven school resource officers in the district, and supplies five cars to them. Chief Nate King is requesting new vehicles and for TPS to pay more. Starting next school year, TPS will pay 60 percent, and will no longer employ an officer to work the THS guard shack.

Ashlock also announced that there will not be any school supplies lists for any sites next school year.

TPS was able to supply needed items to all kindergarten through fifth-graders this year, and will do the same for K-12 next year. High schoolers will not receive kits like the younger students, but basic supplies will be given out.

One member of the public was present, and the father of high school students asked the board to review the exemption policy which deals with attendance and semester-end tests. He said one of his children hid being sick so he wouldn't miss school and be required to take the tests. Tahlequah High School Principal Vicki Bush said the policy has helped with absenteeism.

While board member Dana Eversole was not present, all items on the agenda were approved, including the hiring of Abby Lamons as Tahlequah Middle School principal.

What's next

Tahlequah Public Schools Board of Education will meet Tuesday, March 10, at 6 p.m. in the board conference room, 225 N. Water Ave.

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