The Norman Transcript

January 14, 2014

Board members repay students, families for damaged instruments

By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — District 29 school board members approved 21 tort claims against the district Monday for families who lost personal items during a school bus fire in October.

Shelly Hickman, Norman Public Schools director of public information and community relations, said approving the tort claims was part of a legal process to help students and families get money back for their personal property.

“We believe it’s important to make parents and families whole in this,” Hickman said. “This is just the way state law allows us to help make those families whole again.”

The bus was on its way to a band competition at Cameron University when it caught fire and caused an estimated $250,000 worth of damage. Twenty-one students lost personal property in the form of instruments during the fire.

During the meeting Monday, the tort claims filed against the district amounted to about $18,600. All of the claims were approved.

The board also approved several other items, including:

· A resolution authorizing the sale of a portion of the School District’s Bonds authorized by the voters Dec. 8, 2009.

· Acceptance of a contract with Bank of Oklahoma for paying agent registrar services in connection with the Series 2014 General Obligation Bonds for the 2009 bond issue.

· A proposed revision in board of education policy related to open transfers.

The resolution approved will set the wheels in motion of the sale of the last series in the 2009 bond election. The amount left is $28,780,000. The sale date for this will be Feb. 24 at the next regular school board meeting.

Chris Cochran, an Oklahoma public finance managing director at Bosc Inc., said this alerts the world that bids will be accepted on that day. Cochran said the bids will be received at 2 p.m. and asked that the board award the lowest bidder.

Regarding the acceptance of a contract with BOK, Cochran said it is something procedural, recommending to the board that the bank be hired again for the bond issue.

Dr. Joe Siano, NPS superintendent, said they have had a good working relationship with Bank of Oklahoma for a lot of services rendering the district.

The proposed revision of the board policy regarding open transfers is basically an adjustment of board policy to reflect two bills passed by the state legislature during their last session, Siano said.

One of the bills requires the district to send a letter to applicants within 30 days for those outside of the district wanting to transfer into the district.

Siano said he thinks the intent was to help parents hear back about the transfer more quickly, but because of the 30-day letter requirement, most will probably be seeing letters of denial first with letters of reconsideration later.

During the administrative staff report, Siano reported to the board that staff will begin to phase into the new administration facilities soon.

“Work is under way in the old Washington administration building, and hopefully we’ll stay on target and continue to move forward,” Siano said. “Hopefully we’ll be moved in by February.”

Jessica Bruha


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