Personnel needs dominate School Board meeting

by Feb 8, 2019COMMUNITY sgadugi





In attendance at the Monday, Feb. 4 Cherokee Central Schools School Board meeting were Chairperson Charlotte Saunooke; Vice Chairperson Gloria Griffin; Jennifer Thompson, secretary; Karen French Browning, member; Isaac Long, member; Superintendent Dr. Michael Murray; Assistant Superintendent Dr. Barbara Payne; Howard Wahnetah, financial director; Deborah Toinetta, HR director; and Tribal Council Vice Chairman David Wolfe. 

The first order of business was an announcement of the achievement of Michelle McSwain and Jonnie Walkingstick receiving National Board Certification. Laura Pinnix, the school’s Cherokee Language Director, requested and was approved for trip funding for six students to attend Cherokee Days in Washington, DC in April. The request was for $500. And, there was a request for CCS Yearbook ad sponsorship for $400. This amount was for a congratulatory ad from the School Board and was approved. 

On the consent agenda, there were several requests for approving hiring for different departments, many of those for sports or coaching positions, a total of twenty-three requests. 

The School Board staffing approvals were as follows: Shelby Parker as CHS Softball Head Coach, Carr Crowe as CHS Men’s Golf Head Coach, Matt Maney as CMS Baseball Head Coach, Johnnie Davis as CHS Head Coach, McKinnley Swimmer as CHS/CMS Track Head Coach, Kevin Primo as CHS Women’s Soccer Head Coach, Lele Lossiah as CHS Track Volunteer, Keyonna Hornbuckle as CHS Track Volunteer, and Daniel Trent Winchester as Permanent Substitute Teacher. 

The School Board agreed to provide a “letter of interest” to participate in a program directed by an entity named “Go Global.” This organization provides opportunities for teachers to travel aboard to enhance their knowledge and experience to pass on to students. The School Board and the system would not be obligated to participate in the program but must present the letter to even be considered. A summary of the program was provided by Dr. Payne which included parameters of monetary contribution from both Go Global and the school system. The Board approved the Chairperson and Superintendent to move forward with the letter. 

Superintendent Murray made the Board aware of a collaboration with EBCI Emergency Management regarding a full scale “active shooter” drill to enhance school and community preparedness. No vote was needed from the School Board. Dr. Murray provided the information as an advisory. 

Chairperson Saunooke advised the Board that the Middle School received an award from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort of 28 mountain bikes and riding gear with each bicycle. Dr. Murray is ensuring that the bikes have an asset tag and is finding appropriate storage. They are also developing a check out system for their use. 

A proposed expansion’s status was discussed. It has been on hold because of budgetary issues. The plan calls for a wrestling room, additional class facilities and restrooms. Other uses were also discussed. The project proposed cost was said to be $3.6 million. Wahnetah stated that there was a million-dollar set aside for the project in the fiscal year 2016. However, $194,940 had been expended on the project as a design fee through another budget line (which will have to be reimbursed from the set-aside funds). Additional funding will be necessary from Tribal Council, and the school administration is working through getting that approval.  

Dr. Murray asked the Board for guidance on a request to use the school grounds and facilities for the tribal pow wow event. After discussion, the Board decided that they would not be able to support this use. 

After this discussion, the School Board went into a closed session to address other personnel issues. 

The next regular School Board meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 19.