School Board hires middle school science teacher

July 20, 2021

The Comanche Board of Education met in regular session July 13.

The board approved various routine consent agenda items including the minutes of the regular board meeting held in June, activity fund reports, and the treasurer’s report. The board also approved various designations and authorizations for federal programs. Also approved were FY 21 and FY 22 encumbrances in the general fund, building fund, and child nutrition fund.
The board accepted the superintendent’s recommendation to hire Dana Lohrer for a middle school science position. The district needs to fill two route driver positions for the upcoming year and is also in the process of interviewing for the reading tutor position.

Contract amounts for certified and non-certified 12-month employees were approved. Bills asked the board to approve a raise in pay for the district’s 12-month hourly personnel. Bills said they are reliable, dependable, and the district wants to retain their employees. Superintendent Bills reported that a full financial report regarding the 2020-2021 fiscal year will be presented at the August meeting. She noted that there will be a reduction in the general fund balance, primarily because of a major decrease in gross production tax collections.

Bills shared the district's strategic plan with 2021-22 goals based on the results of end of the year survey completed by students, parents, and teachers. Improving communication and addressing student mental health needs are the two primary areas of focus. She said student achievement and learning is more likely to occur when there is open communication between families, students, and teachers. To provide improved communication, the district also will have a mobile app to help keep the community informed.

“I thought the district staff did an amazing job keeping the school year as normal as possible with minimal negative impacts on the learning environment,” Bills said. “However, preliminary testing scores indicated that there was some learning loss. With the possibility of the pandemic effects continuing into the next year the district wants to help students address whatever issues they may be facing.”

Bills informed the board that the Comanche School District has been approved for a Counselor Corp Grant which will also help reach our goals. The grant will help with funding a contract-licensed professional counselor, Micah Foraker, who will be on campus two days a week. Foraker will be available for all students, with a focus on the mental health needs of middle school and high school students. Comanche was the only district in the county to be approved for this grant.

Bills also shared the need for a virtual/ blended opportunity for high school students who would benefit from participating in an alternate school option. The high school staff is still in the process of refining the plan. Mrs. Bills believes this is a viable option for students and hopefully will help address declining enrollment by offering an alternative to students considering Epic and other virtual charter schools. Lyndsey Miller will be the teacher in charge of the program.

Bills reported she is looking forward to a normal school opening in August. She shared the 2021-22 Distance Learning Handbook necessary to be prepared in the event that closures are required. “Comanche Schools will continue to focus on keeping students healthy as we provide them with quality learning opportunities,” Bills said.