On Tuesday evening, March 21, the Broken Arrow Public Schools (BAPS) High School Configuration Study Steering Committee reached a consensus for a preliminary recommendation regarding the future and framework of Broken Arrow High School. As the two year research process nears its conclusion, BAPS’ high school configuration study steering committee evaluated data from community forums and a community survey last fall, as well as analyses provided on current building space and capacity, planned capital projects through the 2015 Bond, and financial forecasts.
Based on the research and data, the steering committee recently provided a preliminary recommendation for a configuration that would include two 9-12 grade high schools (currently Broken Arrow High School and Broken Arrow Freshman Academy) with STEM classroom additions at both campuses made possible by the 2015 Bond, one 9-12 grade “Options” Academy (currently Broken Arrow Academy/Broken Arrow Virtual High School), and a proposal to build a third comprehensive 9-12 grade high school on a 2027 Bond. The Steering Committee and BAPS would like to stress that this is a preliminary recommendation that will provide the community with a starting point in this discussion and to encourage continued conversation to get valuable community feedback.
Each high school will vary in size, with the current BAHS campus housing 3,250 students; the current BAFA campus housing 2,250 students; the current BAA/BAVHS campus housing 650 students; the proposed high school on the 2027 Bond housing 3,250 students. Based on the preliminary recommendation and timeline, BAPS will begin transitioning students into the second high school in 2 ½ years (fall of 2019) and will have two comprehensive 9-12 grade high schools in 4 ½ years (fall of 2021). The third 9-12 high school will open in the fall of 2031, pending the outcome of a 2027 Bond election. This configuration will honor the items within the 2015 Bond, will provide pathways for specialized learning at each high school campus, will allow BAPS to proceed with the proposed recommendation within its current bonding and building capacity, and will help support and balance the projected enrollment growth at every grade level.
Now, the district will hold two community forums on April 4 at the Freshman Academy and April 5 at Centennial Middle School to allow patrons the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on the proposed plan. Both forums will be held at 6:30 p.m. For patrons who are unable to attend either event, the forums will be broadcast live on ArrowVision.tv.
Community members are encouraged to complete a feedback form that will allow them to provide their feedback about the preliminary recommendation proposed by the committee. The feedback form will be available until 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11.
The information from the community forums and feedback forms will be considered as the steering committee finalizes its recommendation, which will then be presented to the Board of Education in May. Part of the recommendation to the Board of Education will include the assembly of a Visioning Committee, which will determine academic and extra-curricular programming options for students at each campus. For more information and ongoing updates, please visit www.baschools.org/goba.
Again, this is a PRELIMINARY RECOMMENDATION. Community input from the online feedback form and community forums is critical, as it will provide the Steering Committee with vital and important feedback as they move toward a final recommendation in the months ahead. This is a decision that will impact the community for many years, and the Steering Committee wants to allow enough time to get feedback to help make the best decision for Broken Arrow. Thank you in advance for your participation and input.
Broken Arrow Public Schools (BAPS) was recently honored with its fourth Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting award for exceeding the high standards for financial reporting and accountability. This prestigious accolade is presented by the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) International, an educational association that supports school business professionals who are passionate about quality education.
The district was recognized for completing the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending 2016. This massive financial report adheres to the most rigorous federal standards set by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).
“Our district is one of only three school districts in the state to successfully complete the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,” Broken Arrow Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Janet Dunlop said. “This report is an important tool because it shows transparency and full disclosure of the district’s financial transactions. Our financial department does a wonderful job, and this award more than proves that.”
State law mandates that school districts undergo an annual single audit and publish a complete set of financial statements presented in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted and audited in accordance with auditing standards. The primary difference between a typical audit and a CAFR is that the audit shows a single year of financial transactions, while the CAFR contains the results of the period with historical information.
“The CAFR is a culmination of the district’s financial reporting and annual audit,” BAPS Chief Financial Officer Natalie Eneff said. “The CAFR allows the community to assess the overall financial health of the district and understand where their tax dollars are spent.”
The ABSO International Certificate of Excellence award confirms the school business office’s commitment to financial responsibility. Recognition through the COE program strengthens a district’s presentation for bond issuance statements and promotes a high level of financial reporting to the community.
The CAFR report is available to any individual or organization wishing to compare the district’s financial state to other schools as well as any other business that completes a CAFR. Moving forward, district staff members will complete the report annually, continuing this new standard of excellence in financial reporting for Broken Arrow Public Schools.
For more information about the COE award, please visit ASBO’s website: www.asbointl.org/COE.
According to a report by Feeding America, 17 percent of Oklahoma’s population is considered food insecure, leaving 242,990 children unsure where they will get their next meal. Locally, this means that one out of four Broken Arrow children are at risk of being hungry.
To help reduce hunger in Broken Arrow, Broken Arrow Public Schools (BAPS) is once again partnering with Move For Hunger, Broken Arrow Neighbors and Broken Arrow Accent Moving and Storage for the fifth annual districtwide food drive March 20-24, the week following spring break.
“I am always amazed at the level of understanding today’s youth has regarding food insecurity and their willingness to accept the call to action of the Move for Hunger project,” said Kim Goddard, executive director of Broken Arrow Neighbors. “This food drive is truly a reflection of a strong community joining forces to address social issues that are typically unacknowledged.”
For five days, students and staff from across the Broken Arrow district are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items – including canned foods, juice, pasta, soup, baby food and more – to any school site. All donations benefit Broken Arrow Neighbors, a nonprofit that provides basic needs and emergency assistance to Broken Arrow families.
Last year, the effort resulted in more than 11,000 pounds of food. The goal for this year is to surpass 11,000 items.
Nationwide, the BAPS event is the largest school-related drive for Move For Hunger, and the district’s assistance throughout the school year makes it the top contributor of food donations to Broken Arrow Neighbors.
The districtwide drive began with an idea generated by Candy Lievsay, teacher at Sequoyah Middle School. In January 2012, her classroom read an article about Move For Hunger, a nonprofit organization that teams up with relocation companies across the nation to pick up non-perishable food items from people who are moving and deliver the items to local food banks. In the fall of 2012, Sequoyah held a food drive that collected more than 3,500 pounds of food, and Move For Hunger along with Accent Moving and Storage supplied the muscle to get the food delivered to Broken Arrow Neighbors.
"As a local Broken Arrow business since 1987, it is our way to give back to our city and to the citizens who are in need," said Accent Moving and Storage's Jody Davis. "This food drive has such a significant impact on our community, and it is an honor to serve the district, BA Neighbors and our city through this heartwarming effort."
In March of 2013, the district held its first districtwide food drive and has since collected more than 61,000 pounds of food.
To learn more about Broken Arrow Neighbors, please visit www.baneighbors.org.
The Tulsa Health Department recently confirmed a mumps outbreak in Tulsa County, specifically in Owasso. While there are NO confirmed cases at Broken Arrow Public Schools, the district’s health services division is closely monitoring the situation.
As a precaution, a vaccine is available to protect children against mumps. The Tulsa Health Department is recommending that parents follow-up with their child’s healthcare provider to determine if the child is up-to-date on their mumps vaccination. Children that need to receive the mumps vaccine may get the vaccine from their healthcare provider or the Tulsa Health Department.
For more information about mumps, its causes and symptoms, please visit the Tulsa County Health Department’s website at www.tulsa-health.org.
Broken Arrow Public Schools (BAPS) began its High School Configuration Study in the fall of 2015. Since then, the steering committee has been evaluating various types of research to assist them in making the best decision possible regarding the future of the district’s high school. Because a significant part of the study includes input from BAPS stakeholders, the district conducted three public forums and a community survey in the fall of 2016 to collect feedback from parents, students, staff and the community. The committee is evaluating this information as it develops the recommendation it will present to the BAPS Board of Education later this spring.
Approximately 150 patrons attended the community forums with a majority of the questions and comments focused on the academic impact of the different configurations. There were also a number of inquiries regarding the academy model and how this might be implemented to be serve students.
In addition, nearly 2,500 individuals took part in the survey with parents or guardians of elementary or Pre-K students making up 40 percent of respondents. Thirty-six percent of respondents have been residents of Broken Arrow for six to 15 years. Some of the significant findings include:
On the survey, respondents were also allowed to submit brief comments and 721 took this opportunity. Approximately 400 of the comments were related to specific opinions on grade configurations. Of those, 90 percent of those who were 0-15 year residents indicated a desire for multiple high schools and 69% of those who had been residents for 6 to 15 years showing a similar preference. There was no specific trend on grade centers or academies except for a common theme to not lock students into pathways.
The steering committee is in the process of developing a preliminary recommendation which will be shared with the community at the end of March 2017. The district will then hold two community forums in April to allow patrons the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on the proposed plan. The information from these forums will be used to finalize the high school configuration recommendation which will then be presented to the board of education in May.
For the fourth year, Broken Arrow High School’s (BAHS) senior class will walk across the renowned stage at the BOK Center to receive their diplomas. The ceremony will take place on Monday, May 15, 2017, at 7 p.m.
“We are pleased the Board of Education has once again approved the agreement with the BOK for our Class of 2017 graduation ceremony because this venue continues to exceed our expectations,” said Associate Superintendent of Student Services Chuck Perry.
For the past few years, the graduating class has exceeded the 1,000 mark making the larger venue a necessity. With a seating capacity of almost 16,000, the BOK Center provides ample seating for the family and friends of BAHS seniors who wish to attend the ceremony.
“Graduation is the culminating event of a student’s high school career,” said Perry. “This venue ensures that all guests of our seniors are able to attend to help celebrate their successes.”
Students and their families will be provided more details about graduation throughout the spring semester.
Last week, I shared with our staff and public that Oklahoma has once again declared a revenue failure and that Common Education would be cut by $11.1 million statewide. To Broken Arrow Public Schools, that cut translated to roughly $293,000 or $10.09 less per student.
Unfortunately, that news was the tip of the iceberg. On Friday, Feb. 24, the State announced that the Education Reform Revolving Fund (HB1017) was also being reduced, resulting in additional cuts for districts already reeling from a second consecutive year of revenue failure. This additional cut is deep and takes our district from a $293,000 cut to a hit of more than $1.2 million. That means that BAPS will receive $42 less per student than we currently receive. This is the latest information we have on budget cuts.
Once again, because BAPS has been proactive in preparing for these cuts, we are able to weather the storm through this school year. But the State’s budget crisis is continually evolving, forcing districts across the state to make hard decisions in preparation for the 2017-18 school year. We will continue to closely monitor the impact the state budget crisis has on BAPS and will take proactive measures to do everything we can to keep this impact away from our classrooms as much as we can.
In an effort to plan for next school year, we will revisit the goals and objectives that parents, staff and the community prioritized through the budget survey captured last spring. Our first priority is our classrooms, and we will try our best to adhere to the community’s wishes to keep those cuts away from the classroom.
The continuous erosion of funding to Common Education has cost this state exponentially during the past several years. Oklahoma has cut public school funding by 26.9 percent since 2008, resulting in the deepest cuts in the nation. Our kids deserve better. Our teachers deserve better. You, as a resident of the city of Broken Arrow and the state of Oklahoma, deserve better. Whether you are a teacher, a parent, a grandparent, a neighbor – our children are an investment.
Remember, there is still time for our state leaders to address the problem. If you would like to contact our legislators, accessing the following links will provide you with a list of our House Members and Senate Members. If you prefer to call our legislators, text your ZIP code to 520-200-2223 to receive a text message with their names and phone numbers.
For more information on how these budget cuts impact our students, please view our education funding graphic.
As always, thank you for your support and your commitment to Broken Arrow Public Schools.
Dr. Janet Dunlop
Superintendent of Broken Arrow Public Schools