By JONAH LOSSIAH
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Tuesday, Sept. 3 meeting of the Cherokee Central Schools (CCS) Board of Education was called to order at 4:45 p.m. with Vice Chairperson Gloria Griffin; Board members Isaac Long and Jennifer Thompson; CCS Finance Director Howard Wahnetah; HR Director Heather Driver meeting; School Board Assistant Sunnie Clapsaddle present. Board member Karen French-Browning was late to the meeting. Board members Charlotte Saunooke and John Crowe; Assistant Superintendent Dr. Beverly Payne; and Tribal Council representative David Wolfe were absent from the meeting.
Jennifer Thompson led the opening prayer.
The consent agenda was approved apart from two resolutions, 20-059 and 20-060, which were pulled for further discussion.
20-059 would have CCS past and current School Board members receive lifetime sporting event passes for all regular season Home CCS athletic events. 20-060 would provide the same privilege to CCS retirees. School Board member John Crowe submitted both items.
“I know that we always get regular passes, anyway. The Board does. But I’m not so sure if that don’t look like self-serving; feeling like we’re owed to get into every sport free, even if we’re not on the Board,” said Vice Chairperson Griffin.
“With the budget being tight, I think that if we’re off the Board, we can pay to get in,” said Griffin.
“Personally, I just think it’s a nice gesture. I don’t feel like it’s being self-serving, ’cause we do get in those events. And it’s just the home events,” said Jennifer Thompson.
After the discussion, the resolution passed 3-1. Griffin was the lone vote against.
Crowe defends his resolution, though he was not at the meeting to vote. He stated later that he was officiating a wedding in Florida over the weekend.
“We’re the only elected group that has no type of retirement whatsoever,” said Crowe.
“I get into all the events free anyway, from where I volunteer. And, I’ve volunteered since I’ve been out of high school. So, there wasn’t really no benefit for myself.”
Crowe says that he has bought season passes for himself and his entire family every year since CCS has offered them. He showed the Cherokee One Feather his $200 receipt for five CCS Athletic Season passes for this school year. Crowe says that he wants to do what he can to help the school and that he only wanted to offer some benefits for his fellow board members.
“I was just looking out for our former members as well as those coming in,” said Crowe.
Howard Wahnetah was present to offer an update on CCS athletics salaries. There were some salary adjustments based on discussions that took place at the August 19 School Board meeting.
HR Director Heather Driver brought forward two salary adjustments. The Board had approved the positions previously, but there was a need to amend the salaries. There were increases for a varsity boys’ basketball assistant coach and a varsity baseball assistant coach. These were pay scale adjustments that came from a correction to their experience. These passed 4-0.
The Board then turned its attention to a modified policy. Series 7000, 7500 workday. There was an adjustment to working hours for teaching assistants. The amendment states a regular workday for teaching assistants will be from 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. The policy initially stated that a teaching assistant’s workday ended at 3 p.m.
This modification also passed unanimously.
The Board approved a change in the job description for the SPED teacher assistant position. It adds a stipulation that someone hired must be willing to obtain Crisis Prevention Institute certification.
The Board had to wait for French-Browning to arrive before they could vote on anything, but they were still able to welcome in the one guest they had before she arrived.
Lucian Davis, a sophomore at Cherokee High School (CHS), came to meet with the Board on behalf of the CCS Musical Theater Department. They are raising money for their spring performance of Hairspray and have begun selling ads for the playbills for those shows.
Davis said that ads begin at $75 for a quarter-page, but he had come to the meeting hoping the School Board would become a full sponsor of the production for $500. Once French-Browning arrived at the meeting, the Board voted unanimously to provide the $500 sponsorship.
Later in the meeting, the Board addressed gifts and dinner for departing Board members John Crowe and Charlotte Saunooke, who did not run for reelection.
Crowe has requested that departing members be able to keep their computer in place of a Pendleton blanket. The Board has approved this, and Crowe will be gifted his laptop after the IT department has wiped it of documents and data. The Board was issued Dell XPS touchscreen laptops. Crowe expressed his opinion concerning the request for the computer.
“Well, the computers are obsolete anyway. You know, after two years a computer is totally worthless,” said Crowe.
Another department recently ordered the same model for $2,185 per computer. The School Board’s laptops were paid for using a grant, but new members’ computers would most likely come out of the CCS School Board budget. Saunooke says she plans to accept the Pendleton blanket as a gift and not worry about the computer. The school gets these blankets from Tsali Care at a cost of $300.
“If our teachers that work 30 years get a Pendleton blanket, that’s all that I’m worthy of also,” said Saunooke, who missed Tuesday’s meeting due to illness.
The final topic in the open session was a walk-in resolution, 20-067. The Board voted 4-0 to approve James Short as the Varsity Wrestling Coach.
The Board finished the meeting in a closed session. Superintendent Murray said that no decisions would be made and that the closed session was solely being used to discuss personnel.
The next meeting of the CCS School Board is set for Monday, Sept. 16.