In an effort to support the school’s teachers in the quest for more funding, the Grove School Board unanimously approved to support a work stoppage should the state legislators fail to addresses funding problems.

The 4-0 vote on Tuesday, March 13, was met with a standing ovation. About 125 people were in attendance at the school board meeting which was moved to the Performing Arts Center on the campus of Grove High School. 

Board member Terry Jones was not in attendance for the meeting.

“The teachers have gone 11 years without a pay increase,” said Superintendent Sandy Coaly, who received a standing ovation after recommending the board pass the proposal for the work stoppage.

While supporting the teachers Coaly said she hoped the work stoppage did not happen.

The state legislators have until April 1 before a walkout would take place on April 2 and could last up to 25 days. The missed days will be added to the end of school year.

Employees who have 12-month contracts will report to work and support staff will work the first four days of the work stoppage, Coaly said.

Many scenarios involving support staff, sports activities, and other activities were not specifically addressed, but Coaly addressed those concerns saying, “We will cross those bridges when we come to them.”

“We can’t lose federal funding,” said Jerry Crossley, board member. “Our support people need to work. This board supports you 110 percent.”

Four individuals, Patty Betts, Patsy Wilhelm, Matt Fracek and Christy Wright addressed the board all supporting they approve the resolution.

“You have to send a message we can’t take it any longer,” Wright said in an impassioned plea.

Wright, who has two sons in school, said she has watched classes sizes go from 20 students to 30 students.

The audience gave Wright a standing ovation at the conclusion of her speech.

“We teach in the best school district but the state needs to make education a priority,” Fracek said. “We are underpaid, undervalued and under appreciated to the tune of 382 teachers leaving the state each month.”

Other business  

In other business, newly elected board member Karen Dyer was given the Oath of Office and the Loyalty Oath. The board also voted to reorganize with Dr. James Rutter serving as president, Clara Mills as vice-president and Terry Jones as clerk.

The board also approved a written employment contract with Pat Dodson for the Superintendent’s position beginning July 1.

In other employment issues, the board approved hiring Megan Spicer as a seven hour cook and Debra and Bob Kirkley as full-time night custodians.

Also hired on a temporary contract for an elementary teacher position was Nathan Beall III.

Contracts renewed were Rebecca Mease, Special Services Director; Richard Basset, Athletic Director; Cindy Weaver, Federal Programs Director; Julie Bloss, Early Childhood Center Principal; Donna Clark, Lower Elementary Assistant Principal; Shelly Barnes, Upper Elementary Principal; Jeff Gibe, Assistant Upper Elementary Principal; Renae Dozier, High School Principal; Bobby Kreutz, Assistant High School Principal.

No action was taken on the position of Lower Elementary Principal and Middle School Principal. Kelly Trumbull resigned from the position as Lower Elementary Principal and Dodson also resigned from his position as Middle School principal to accept the superintendent's role.

In financial issues, a bid of $24,994 from DIGI Security Systems for security camera systems to be placed in the school lacking surveillance cameras, in particular the cafeteria, maintenance buildings, and central office and a fiber line between the middle school and lower elementary campuses at a cost of $11,783.76 from Wyandotte Technologies were approved.

Both expenses come out of the technology bond that was passed in 2015, Coaly said.

Under new business, Coaly asked the board to approve a $6,200 contract with Safe and Secure Schools to pay for a speaker that will address the school on academic and classroom behavior management before classes resume in the fall. The contract covers, travel, airfare, hotel and fee expenses, she said.

The board also approved:

• the 2017-18 audit contract and engagement letter with Sanders. Bledsoe and Hewitt.

• software service agreement with MAS Financial Services for the 2018-2019 school year.

• continuing career-technology programs currently in place for the 2018-2019 school year.

• OKTLE License Agreement for the 2018-2019 school year.

• Ruth Kelly Studio Picture Agreement for the 2018-19 school year.

• changing the district paid life insurance from Dearborn National to Mutual of Omaha.

• closing the middle school greenhouse account and transferring $96.05 to the middle school science fair account.

• the 2018-19 school calendar, which reflects 1,080 hours and 30 hours of staff development.

• transferring $2,280 from within two band activity accounts.

• setting a special meeting for April 10 at noon to sell the transportation bonds. The passage of the recent transportation bond allows the school to purchase seven or eight school busses and new vehicles.