Mondays with Mendenhall - Jan. 13, 2020
I would first like to thank the teachers, staff, principals, and administrative staff that worked in conjunction Friday as severe weather moved into the area. I am proud of how so many different departments and individuals came together to make sure our students and staff were safe during the tornado warnings issued for Muskogee.
While on the topic of weather, I want to remind you of the winter weather protocol. To allow our families and employees to make the necessary plans, we attempt to make a decision no later than 6:00 a.m. when winter weather comes into the area. The Director of Transportation Brad Smythe and the Police Chief Dan Hall begin driving the roads at 4:30 a.m. and provide me with updates on the conditions. We do our best to make the proper decision considering the safety of our students and staff.
This weekend the News on 6 aired a story that included an interview with me, County Commissioner Ken Doke and Hospital Authority Executive Jim Blair discussing a lawsuit filed by the Hospital Authority against Saint Francis Health System. Saint Francis took over the contract to run the Muskogee hospital which includes an in-kind payment. However, they have not paid the fee in 2018 and has no intention of paying in 2019. They contend this payment is a tax and claim to be exempt from paying property tax.
As I told the reporter, Muskogee Public Schools stands to receive 70% or approximately $600,000 of this in-kind payment annually until the year 2047. We have not budgeted for this allocation for the past two fiscal years, but we believe this is funding MPS is due per the contract. A judge will likely determine if this fee will be paid so I will keep you informed as to the progress of this issue.
I hope you have a great week!
Jarod Mendenhall, Ed.D.
Muskogee Public Schools