Joe Gray

Grove Sun

Grove Superintendent Sandy Harper has been crunching the numbers, and she fears the numbers may not be good for the 2011-2012 school year.

“We’re expecting state funds to be cut anywhere from three to 10 percent next year,” Harper said. “If that holds true, we’re looking at a $1.3 million shortfall.”

Harper and her staff have been working to hold down expenses to try to have a carryover going into next year, but tough decisions still have to be made.

During Tuesday night’s school board meeting, the board approved motions to issue written notification to teachers who will, and will not be offered contracts next year. According to Harper, the moves will result in seven current teachers not being offered contracts for next year, with the hope that the numbers improve, and they are able to bring those teachers back at a later time.

“This is not a reflection on these teacher’s abilities,” board member Kenny Wright said. “I know a lot of these people, and know how hard they work and how talented they are, at this time, we just don’t have any choice.”

Harper also reported to the board that the state unexpectedly cut $154,000 in funds which went to pay for staff flex benefits that the district will now have to pick up the tab for.

Several other teachers are not returning by their own choice. High School science teacher Pam Chaney, and third grade teacher Jeanne Woods are retiring, third grade teacher Stephanie Franklin is moving out of the district, and Donna Mouser from the High School is retiring as well.

Athletic Director Will Jones brought up a proposal to look into installing field turf at Ridgerunner Stadium funded through private monies, but board member Jerry Crossley said he would not support the move, and that bleachers and the stadium should be a bigger priority.

Staff members also reported on a potential move of the Sixth Grade back to the Upper Elementary Campus next year, which all of the principals said would be a more appropriate, and a more secure environment.

Sam Fairchild and Mike Huggins also reported that school-sponsored Driver’s Education classes are making a comeback, after a two-year absence. Jeff Lungren Chevrolet will be providing two cars to the school at no charge, and Fairchild reported that the classes filled up immediately after they were announced.

In other business, the board moved to retain First National Bank for activity fund bank accounts, and transfer the district’s general fund account to Grand Savings Bank from Bank of Oklahoma.