By Caitlin Schudalla
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — A surprise donation of $25,000 to Plaza Towers and Briarwood teachers was the highlight of a press conference with outgoing Superintendent Susan Pierce, incoming Superintendent Robert Romines and MPS administrators Thursday.
The donation was made by Stillwater Public Schools, presented by Stillwater Superintendent Ann Caine.
“District insurance doesn’t pay for the fun stuff of your classrooms,” Caine said to Plaza Towers and Briarwood teachers gathered at the conference. “When I left classroom teaching to be an administrator, my husband added up classroom supplies of mine stored in our garage and stopped when he was into the thousands.”
Caine she and her staff raised the money by contacting local parents, districts throughout
Oklahoma and superintendents nationwide, raising the money in a very short time.
According to Romines, MPS is set for Plaza’s and Briarwood’s individual students.
“We’ve had so many donations from the state communities and national communities. We are all set and established for supplies ranging from backpacks to hand sanitizer and Kleenex; we’re very appreciative,” Romines said.
Looking ahead, Romines said East Central Junior High is on track to be operable in August, when 700 to 800 seventh- and eighth-graders will return for the 2013/2014 school year.
Plaza Towers and Briarwood elementary schools will be rebuilt on their original sites, which Romines said was “insisted upon” by the surrounding communities.
MPS hopes to build the schools over the 2013/2014 school year. Meanwhile Plaza students will be relocated to Central Junior High, and Briarwood students will be relocated to Emmaus Baptist Church off Western Avenue.
“We have plans at the architects who are reviewing safe rooms, and depending on what the experts say is what we’ll plan; our goal is to include them in both new schools,” Romines said. “There are always going to be hurdles with new construction, but our hope is FEMA will provide the funding for Briarwood and Plaza as they did with schools damaged in the 1999 tornado.”
Romines said MPS Administrators will have meetings this week with state representatives on the possibility of adding safe rooms to all facilities in the district.
“Since May 20, many things have changed in our community,” Pierce said. “I cannot emphasize enough how proud I am to have been a member of the Moore schools family and the community support we have received since that dreadful Monday. I will continue to be a part of MPS during my retirement.”
Pierce concludes a more than 25-year tenure with Moore Public Schools with her retirement, effective today.