Good stewardship was the theme of Thursday evening's meeting of the Moore Norman Technology Center board of education on its South Penn campus in Oklahoma City.
In addition to administering the oath of office to its newest board member, Andy Sherrer, the board appointed officers, approved two important financial measures and discussed new policies for students.
On Thursday, the board approved the release of Moore/Norman's 10-year-old lease agreement with the Cleveland County Public Facilities Authority, following the center's final payment on the campus at 13301 S. Pennsylvania Ave. in December.
"This is a very exciting day," Superintendent Jane Bowen said. "This release means we will effectively take over South Penn. It's paid for and is now ours."
Moore/Norman paid for the $12.9 million facility with semi-annual payments through its lease agreement beginning in 2002.
The board also approved submitting a request of participation to the Oklahoma Commission on School and County Funds Management, to help the center offset financially difficult phases of the year.
"This is a program we've participated in for the last two years, to assist us in November and December when our cash flow is pretty much negative," said Roger Adair, director of finance. "This is something we need to do so we don't end up in a negative cash flow issue."
Adair said two years ago, MNTC was approved for $2.9 million and only drew down $1.7 million, lowering the fee and interest percentages the center paid for its participation.
The board discussed policy expansions, which may be adopted in the near future pertaining to enrollment of students convicted of felonies, prohibiting on-campus tobacco use and bullying.
"We believe in every student's right to an education, and this (felony) policy is not designed to prevent enrollment but rather protect students from investing in an education which cannot be completed. In some of our programs, a student cannot obtain a license with a felony, and that must be disclosed to students," Bowen said.
"The point of this is for us to be good stewards to these students. It makes sense that someone is watching, because these felonies are public record. We're really trying to be proactive and show good diligence to our students," Sherrer said.
A revised tobacco policy will likely be forthcoming, as Bowen indicated Gov. Mary Fallin's strong push for all state facilities, among them career tech centers, to become totally tobacco-free.
Bowen also said that she and other administrators felt a stronger anti-bullying and harassment policy should be instated, with training for staff included.
Bowen said policies will be voted on within the next two weeks.
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