The Sand Springs Board of Education approved the declaration of an emergency and use of up to $250,000 to repair a gas leak in a portion of Charles Page High School.

Superintendent Sherry Durkee said there was a report of a gas smell in the ag area of the high school August 30, students were temporarily moved from the area and someone not affiliated with the district contacted the fire department and Oklahoma Natural Gas. Durkee said the leak was isolated to the area.

School operations continue, but gas is shut off to the campus--with the exception of the Ed Dubie Field House, Fine Arts Building and stadium--until repairs are made.

“When this happened at Central Ninth Grade, we spent approximately $150,000 for those repairs,” District Architect Jeanie Kvach said. “We think this could be more.”

Former district Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel Gary Watts said the declaration of an emergency just allows the district to move forward with contracts for repairs without following the notice and bidding requirements of the public competitive bidding act.

In other news:

• The Board approved the first revised budget for the fiscal year 2019-2020 school year.

“The big changes (in the operating fund) are in state aid…I so excited we actually get money,

District CFO Gregory Morris said.

Durkee said the district will again receive about $230,000 for textbooks, which is about 50 percent of the cost for the textbook purchases.

“Like most school districts, we’ll take it,” Morris said of the increase.

Durkee said they’re also seeing an increase of about 116 students compared to last year.

• The Board approved a memorandum of understanding with the Tulsa Fire Department allowing the department to host two interns as part of the student internship program at Charles Page High School.

“You’re going to start seeing (memorandums of understanding) for different people approving internship opportunities for our seniors,” Durkee said. “Our intention was for our kids to take the soft skills class the first semester, but because of the interest level…we’ve had several people that want the interns now.”

She said other businesses have expressed interest in taking interns.

“People are grasping onto this idea of workforce development,” Durkee said.

• The Board approved the estimate of needs for the 2019-2020 school year.

• Durkee, Early Childhood Education Center Principal Dr. Renee Cowan and Board member Mike Mullins presented Sandite Pacesetter awards to Early Childhood Education Center early childhood special educator Kasey Willden and Early Childhood Education Center teaching assistant Kari Rockwood for their efforts to prepare a classroom for students at the Early Childhood Education Center before school started.

Rachel Snyder 918-581-8315

rachel.snyder@sandspringsleader.com