Pawhuska Schools to move ahead with building maintenance

Robert Smith

Pawhuska Public Schools planned to move ahead Tuesday with a building maintenance project that will involve completing an upgrade of the heating and air-conditioning systems at the high school, Superintendent David Cash said Monday night by telephone.

Cash commented following a Board of Education meeting that was streamed live on Facebook in an effort to allow the public to observe the board’s actions without having to attend in person.

The Facebook Live arrangement was implemented due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. There was an interruption in the video feed of about 20 minutes length during the early portion of the meeting. The problem was corrected and the live feed resumed after an executive session.

“We knew there would be a bump or two,” Cash said of the technical problem.

Pawhuska Public Schools financed some heating and air-conditioning work at the high school during the summer of 2018, but that left an uneven situation in place in terms of the HVAC equipment being used in different parts of the high school complex, and a noticeable difference in the results that the equipment delivered, Cash said. This project will finish the upgrade.

Maintenance Director Josh Williams told the Journal-Capital he anticipates the HVAC job will move fairly quickly.

Cash also briefed board members Monday night on the school district’s financial situation, as the end of the fiscal year is coming up June 30. He said that if state government makes good on its pledge to provide public school districts with revenues that had been anticipated, then Pawhuska will “land really well” for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

He said following the meeting that the current “big unknown” is whether the Oklahoma Legislature and the governor will agree on the use of enough money from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to make everyone whole.

“If they don’t, we’ll take a hit,” Cash said, but he added that he’d been told there is an agreement in place for legislators and the governor to reach common ground.

Pawhuska Public Schools is in the second week of distance-learning classes for its students, to ensure they are able to complete their studies for the 2019-20 school year. The school district also continues to offer grab-and-go breakfast and lunch meals for students.