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MUSD Governing Board: 2011 -- Oh, what a year it was!
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Oh, what a year 2011 was for education in Maricopa! At the very least, it was an unpredictable year for everyone connected with the Maricopa Unified School District (MUSD), the Governing Board, and their two superintendents. Notice the last word is plural, since the district now has two Superintendents.
2011 wasn't an election year for the MUSD Board, but at the end of the year, Pinal County Superintendent Orlenda Roberts had appointed two of the five Governing Board members, and was trying to decide on another member's appointment. Governing Board members were coming and going so fast at the District office on W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway that one would think the district office had a contagious disease within its walls, or a wild animal roaming the halls looking for Board members to be its next meal.
A beautiful, huge, $9 million Performing Arts Center was completed, yet the MUSD continued to lose students to other districts while the Governing Board members believed the district needed another... Superintendent.
Let's take a look at each month of 2011 and refresh our memories about what happened – and what didn't happen.
- On Thursday, January 4, 2011, Superintendent Jeff Kleck announced the appointment of Torri Anderson to the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board. Anderson was one of nine candidates who applied for the position vacated by Lori Glenn.
- Scott Bartle was elected MUSD Governing Board President and Torri Anderson was elected Vice-President. Both votes were approved by a 3-2 margin.
- Superintendent Kleck announced his 5-year Vision Plan -- "Catching Excellence." Kleck distributed the 28-page booklet to everyone at the meeting.
- MUSD Board President Bartle began his crusade for change. Bartle proposed changes in the agenda order and meetings. Bartle wished to limit MUSD Governing Board meetings to only one a month. (Note: The agenda change was approved, but proposal to limit meetings to one a month failed for lack of a motion.)
- John Gordon, ASBA (Arizona School Board Association) Director of Leadership Development, attends the February 23, 2011 meeting. Items discussed were seating arrangements of Board Members and Superintendent during meetings, lack of posting vision, goals, and mission statements all over district facilities.
- New exit survey given to all teachers. President Bartle stated, "It is critical to obtain feedback from the survey to help the district create goals." One question on the survey: “How likely are you to recommend MUSD to a friend or colleague?” 56 yes votes, 120 neutral, and 214 no votes.
- Ivan Pour, Director of Music for MUSD, announced the Maricopa High School band placed first in their division in the Maricopa Gems Invitational Contest. Maricopa Wells Middle School placed first in their division, too.
- School Calendars were approved for the next three years.
- Governing Board approval was given to President Bartle to attend the 2011 National School Board Association Conference in San Francisco, on April 9-11,2011, at a cost of approximately $1750. This will be paid through Maintenance and Operations funds.
- Proposed list of Reduction In Force (RIF) of Personnel, both certified and classified for school year 2011-2012, was discussed. Seventy-four names were on the list. This list was later tabled.
- MUSD Governing Board meetings begin broadcasting live on Channel 20.
- State minimum requirements for graduation were discussed.
- Course description book for Maricopa High School was approved.
- Patti Coutre was elected to be the legislative delegate for MUSD.
- President Bartle provided ideas and suggestions on ways to improve meetings to be as efficient as possible. Suggestions included: not to go into detail on certain reports and setting time frames. No action was taken on President Bartle's suggestions.
- The MUSD Governing Board approved the RIF of 60 personnel. This included teachers, administrators, custodians, library aides, and security personnel. This will cut approximately $2.6 million from the budget. The Governing Board approved the reductions by a 3-2 vote, with Vargas and Anderson voting against them.
- All Principals of the nine MUSD schools were approved to return for the 2011-2012 year.
- On April 26, Derek Peterson, from the ASBA, presented the program "Helping Students Succeed Arizona Style."
- AIMS (Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards) tests were completed by all students.
- Arizona State Finance Director Yousef Awwad sent a memorandum to Superintendent Kleck that the state will be reducing state aid for MUSD by an additional $902,384.39.
- The Board voted unanimously to approve the hiring of the HMA Public Relations firm for a fee of $47,000 a year.
- The MUSD Board voted to approve the lunch price increase, which it was required to do by federal mandate.
- The first Excellence in Education benefit was held on May 14. The benefit was sponsored by the Maricopa Education Foundation and honored teachers from the MUSD.
- The Board tabled (by a vote of 3-1), having only half-day kindergarten classes.
- On May 24, 2011, 318 members of Maricopa's High School Class graduated. Twenty-six percent of the graduates were honor students. The 2011 graduates received more than one million dollars in scholarship awards.
- MUSD Business Manager Aron Rausch discussed and displayed the award the MUSD Finance Department received from the Association of Schools Business Officials International for "Excellence in Financial Reporting."
- At the May 25 meeting, Rausch told the Governing Board that he and his staff in the Business Management division had found a way to keep the whole day kindergarten program. “By holding off on any purchases for one year, and maintaining the status quo, we can save approximately $700,000.”
- City of Maricopa Intergovernmental Manager Paul Jepson outlined a proposal to the Board that would open up playing fields at Maricopa Wells and Desert Wind Middle Schools.
- Aron Rausch presented the Board with an outline of the proposed $30 million maintenance and operation budget for the upcoming school year. The Governing Board is scheduled to approve next year’s budget at its July 13th meeting.
- Aron Rausch outlined the direction the MUSD Governing Board would need to take in order to put a tax override proposal on the ballot.
- Arizona Drum and Bugle Corp returned to Maricopa to perform for the community, give clinics, and inspire young Maricopa music students to work toward achieving a higher level of musical achievement.
- There was a special meeting of the MUSD Governing Board with six items listed for discussion and possible vote. All items except one were either tabled or failed for lack of a motion. These items concerned Governing Board protocol, the relationship between the Governing Board and the Superintendent, Governing Board leadership, and the need to elect different officers. There was one item the Governing Board approved -- to modify the Superintendent's contact to read: “The Superintendent will not receive the five percent raise as he requested.”
- The Governing Board voted 4-1 to renew the 2005 Tax Override for 5 years by 15% and to place this proposal on the November 8, 2011 ballot.
- The Board approved the proposed 2011-2012 budget of $30,869,449. The 2010-2011 budget was $33,092,784. Aron Rausch stated, "You can easily see there is a difference of almost three million dollars less to spend this year.”
- MUSD Vision and Mission statements were approved. The MUSD Goals have not been approved due to the Board tabling them at a previous meeting.
- Vision: Maricopa Unified: A community dedicated to student success.
- Mission: Ensure all students achieve their potential in school, career, and life by unifying students, staff, curriculum, and community in a safe, supportive, empowering, challenging, and innovative learning environment.
- Governing Board member Carrie Vargas stated she is resigning, effective July 14, 2011, from the MUSD Governing Board. Citing lack of family time, Vargas said her family must come first, and she believed she could not give her family and the voters she represents enough time from her busy life to make educated and carefully thought decisions.
- AIMS test scores were released on July 14, 2011, a few hours before the Board meeting. Scores improved from last year, with two middle schools (Maricopa Wells Middle School and Desert Wind Middle School) Saddleback Elementary School, and Maricopa High School not achieving an Excelling or Performing Plus rating. These four schools did not meet average yearly progress (AYP).
- MUSD Director of Music Ivan Pour commended the Governing Board, Superintendent Kleck, and the administration for their support with the Drum and Bugle Corp stay at Maricopa High School.
- Aron Rausch and his staff received another "Excellence in Financial Reporting for the 2010 Fiscal Year" award, but this time the award was from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).
- By a 3-1 vote, the Board gave a pay raise for an employee in the Business Services Department.
- Maricopa Intergovernmental Manager Paul Jepson told the Board members about the plan to bring back the proposed Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) to the City Council for review and possible approval at the September 20th meeting. NOTE: At their September 20th meeting, the Maricopa City Council did approve the IGA proposal to use the playing fields of Desert Wind and Maricopa Wells Middle School.
- Superintendent Kleck reported 111 fewer students than anticipated enrolled in Santa Rosa Elementary, but 140 more students have enrolled in Maricopa High School.
- Superintendent Kleck reads his letter of resignation at the September 14 Board meeting. He will serve until his contract ends on June 30, 2012. Superintendent Kleck acknowledged many of the successes and improvements within the district throughout his term.
- Jim Irving was welcomed to the MUSD Governing Board. He has previously been a teacher, principal, facility administrator, and volunteer.
- MUSD elementary teachers tell their concerns to the Board. They need more planning time and want to see physical education and music restored.
- Jack McClain addressed the MUSD Board about his concerns and the correct way to fly the United States flag at MUSD schools. Superintendent Kleck assured him immediate surveys will be taken to determine which, if any, schools are not correctly displaying the flag.
- Superintendent Kleck recognized Myrna Wagner for her 41 years of service to the District.
- The Board approved the Governing Board Goals by a vote of 4-1. The Goals are: 1. Improve Student retention/recruitment -- Metric: Have at least 6,000 students enrolled on first day of school in August 2012. 2. Engage all stakeholders -- Metric: Establish a process where we can measure, identify community outreach and volunteerism. 3. Affect change at the State Legislature -- Metric: Law contributing to poaching of out-of-district students via taxpayer funded transportation. 4. Employ Arizona's best teachers -- Metric: 90% of teachers achieve "Effective” or “Highly Effective” status. 5. Improve student achievement -- Metric: Each school earns grade of "B" or better.
- MUSD Governing Board approved the hiring of three full time music teachers and three full time physical education teachers, as well as six part-time library aides at MUSD elementary schools next semester.
- Governing Board member requested an investigation of ethics and conflicts of interest violations by the board members.
- At the October 12 meeting, the Board spent more than two hours in executive session behind closed doors.
- The Governing Board set fees for the public to use the new Performing Arts Center building.
- MUSD Director of Music Ivan Pour announced to the Board that the MHS Band received an excellent rating at the University of Arizona Band Day.
- The 15% Tax Override vote failed to receive voter approval by a margin of about two to one.
- The Governing Board approved the motion to direct staff to start the Request for Proposal (RFQ) process to find an executive search firm to conduct a national search for a new superintendent and an Ad Hoc Superintendent Search Committee.
- At the November 21st meeting of the Governing Board, reading from a prepared two page statement, Geoff Goddard announced that after much deliberation and prayer he has decided he must resign from the District Governing Board effective immediately. He then gathered up his papers and left the boardroom.
- The MUSD Board discussed and approved the new position of Deputy Superintendent, including duties and responsibilities.
- The Board interviewed four candidates for the position of Deputy Superintendent. They were: MUSD Human Resources Director Tom Beckett, MUSD Director of Assessment and Accountability Dr. Ember Conley, Principal of Santa Cruz Elementary School and former Superintendent of MUSD Dr. John Flores, and Alternative School Counselor and a teacher at Maricopa High School
- On November 29, the National Center for Educational Achievement (NCEA) recognized Pima Butte, Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosa Elementary Schools for their strong academic performances and labeled them as Arizona higher performing schools. Superintendent Kleck, Board President Bartle, and Principal of Pima Butte Elementary Korrin Ledbetter, Principal of Santa Cruz Elementary Dr. John Flores, and Principal of Santa Rosa Elementary Karen Waters were also present at the ceremony, which was hosted by the Arizona Business and Education Coalition. Superintendent Kleck said, "It was the teamwork between the old board (Tim White, Geoff Goddard, Tracy Davis, Carrie Vargas, and Lori Glenn) and the Superintendent (me), plus the efforts of the individual school staff that allowed us to win these awards.”
- The MUSD Governing Board selected Dr. Ember Conley to be the Deputy Superintendent.
- MUSD Governing Board approved a request for written quotes from a vendor for superintendent search consulting services.
- The Board approved the Deputy Superintendent's contract to be in effect until June 30, 2012.
- The MUSD Board discussed and approved the formation of an Ad Hoc Advisory Committee for the Superintendent Search.
- The MUSD Governing Board discussed the following criteria that would determine which vendor would be appointed by the Board to conduct the Superintendent search: experience and expertise, method of approach, proposed staff, and cost. The award will not be based solely on cost.
Marilyn Netoskie / CopaNews.com
Torri Anderson was appointed to the Board at the January 4th meeting.