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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel will receive the maximum bonus for leadership performance during the 2020-2021 pandemic school year.

The decision was made during the Board of Education’s executive session Monday and passed as an addendum to his contract evaluation passed in open session after the executive session.

The bonus will be $25,700 or ten percent of his salary, which is the maximum bonus McDaniel’s contract allows.

Board members present were Paula Lewis, Carole A Thompson, Lori N Bowman, Carrie Jacobs, Mark H Mann, Gloria Torres, and Meg McElhaney. Ruth Veales was absent.

Like most government bodies, public school districts in Oklahoma end their fiscal year June 30 and begin a new year July 1. That means superintendent evaluations by boards of education are completed before the end of June.

“Right guy”

Board Chair Paula Lewis told Free Press after the meeting that McDaniel “exceeded any expectation they could have” for taking the initiative to lead the district through a full pandemic school year.

“We were clear that he did an exceptional job,” said Lewis. “Sean is the right guy for the job.”

She explained that McDaniel faced a number of situations that certainly could not have been anticipated when he first came to the district 36 months ago and not even the school year before this one wrapping up in June.

“We led the state this year in services to families, students, and teachers,” Lewis told us.

McDaniel’s contract “is all performance based” said Lewis. He is given feedback throughout each year, not just one evaluation at the end of the year.

His bonus is based on the percentage of goals achieved each year. The goals are agreed upon by McDaniel and the Board at the beginning of each school year.

Proposed changes

Language in two sets of policies were given a first reading Monday meaning that the ideas were heard and discussed but action will be taken on final versions of the policies later. They deal with internal district policies focusing on Board of Ed processes.

One is to clarify what constitutes a majority according to how many board members are present at the quorum of five or more. Language proposed Monday drew a number of questions and attorneys for the district said that language will need to be clarified.

Another change proposed was to clarify what an abstention means in the voting. At present, an abstention has the effect of a nay vote because the one abstaining is still counted toward establishing a majority in the vote.

The new language proposed and subject to further modification is as follows:

“Every member of the board must vote aye or nay or declare an abstention on all required board actions. An abstention will not count as a vote. If a majority of the votes cast are aye, the motion passes.”

Public comment

An entirely new section is proposed concerning public comment.

New proposals call for the first ten requests for public comment to be considered with a 30-minute limit on all public comment unless the Board Chair decides before the meeting to allow more time.

Abusive comments are addressed in the proposed language.

“The individual dignity of Board members, District employees, students, and members of the public must be respected by all speakers. Board members, employees, students, or members of the public will not be subjected to verbal abuse.”

And, the proposed new language attempts to clarify and narrow the subject matter of public comments.

“Per the Oklahoma Open Meetings Act, public comment is not required and is only permitted when it is appropriately listed as a board meeting agenda item. Typically, the Board of Education will include public comment as an agenda item on regular board meeting agendas. Board members are prohibited from responding to public comment and/or answering questions posed during public comment, per state law.”

The list of subjects that will not be allowed in public comment will be expanded under the proposed language to include individual student discipline issues, certain pending grievance or legal issues, and disparaging comments about anyone.

All of the proposals are due more work and time for the board to process before voting say district officials.

Next meetings

With the end of the year fast approaching, the board will hold a work session June 21 if enough board members can respond to a called meeting Lewis said.

The next regular board meeting will be June 28 where the board will take action on next year’s budget before July 1.

Last Updated June 7, 2021, 11:34 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor