NORMAN — Though Monday night’s Board of Education meeting was highlighted by positive honors and reports, the evening was marked by somber reflection on the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy and a fond farewell to board President Darry Stacy.
Following the habitual Pledge of Allegiance, Stacy requested all present remain standing for a moment of silence for Newtown’s victims and greiving families.
“We know that every day, as parents send their children to our schools, that they are confident their children are safe and secure, and this tragedy brings that home to us,” said Superintendent Joe Siano. “I’d like to thank the Norman Police Department for committing to a higher level of patrolling around our schools and placing police officers at every school site this morning. I had a lot of comments from parents who were very appreciative of this.”
Siano announced to the board that in light of the Newtown tragedy, Assistant Superintendent Roger Brown has assembled a group of city and police officials to enact an immediate review of security measures and emergency action plans at each school site, making changes as needed.
As a long-term measure, Siano said he has requested Brown also add a special safety/security sub-committee to the organization the distict will hire to evaluate and compose a master plan for Norman’s facilities, subsequently informing the next bond issue.
“Over the next weeks and months we’ll be getting lots of calls from our state legislators asking what we are doing about school security, and I invite those discussions. I ask for parents and educators to get involved in those discussions and remind our policymakers to give us the resources needed to meet improved security measures,” Siano said.
As the final board meeting presided by Stacy, the remaining board members voted to accept his official resignation, submitted so he can assume his newly-elected role as county commissioner.
“We (the board) have learned a lot from you and we hope what you learned here will serve you in this new role,” said board member Dan Snell.
“As a board we trusted that the proper security measures were in place, but we greatly benefited from your expertise and knowledge of what questions to ask, you were so helpful and you’ll be missed,” said board member Linda Sexton.
In recognition of his service, Stacy was presented with a commemorative plaque. He served as a board of education member for six years.
Also recognized - for outstanding athletic accomplishments - were Mackenzie Wahpepah-Harris of Norman High School for Boys Cross Country All State and the Norman North Football team for earning the Class 6A State Runner Up title.
“I told this team that they could either make excuses or make history, and these young men put in some serious worth ethic and made history. This group had the highest wins in Norman North history,” said football coach Wade Stanley.
Additional topics addressed:
· Michael Vance, Manager of Embassy Suites Norman was recognized for the hotel and conference center’s extensive partnership with Dimensions Academy, providing the students catered Thanksgiving dinner and additional sponsorhsip.
· A change order to CMS Willowbrook for Phase II-B of the Administrative Services Center renovation was approved, deducting costs from mechanical, electrical and plumbing elements for the planned facility to off-set bid prices much higher than expected.
· An annual audit report was presented reflecting good financial function for the district
· The board approved the 2013/2014 academic calendar and selected a planning service for the District Facility Master Plan in anticipation of the next bond issue.