Agenda items include camera, stipends and policy updates
By Dana Trumbull
Included in the Tuesday, 11/14/17 Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board meeting, was a motion to approve the $3,500 purchase of camera equipment reviewed in a previous work-study session. The NewTek NDIHX- PTZ camera will be used to record and archive Governing Board meetings. According to Board documents, “AJUSD is committed to providing our constituents access to timely district information.”
Superintendent Dr. Krista Anderson noted that, in previous years, the district compensated “some individuals” for videotaping, editing and uploading videos of Board meetings by not assigning them a full case load in their teaching contracts, thus providing some flexibility in their schedules. “Upon looking more closely at that practice, we found that, by not having the one single class being taught, it cost the district in the range of $5,000 to $9,000 annually. Compared to $3,500 for a piece of equipment that should last us 5-7 years, this is much more cost effective for the district.”
Anderson added, “My hope is that we will be able to stream Board meetings live, then the video will be uploaded to YouTube the next day for archiving and continued availability to the public.”
Also on the agenda, was the approval of stipends for Meaghan Davis (Cactus Canyon Dean of of Students), Bethany Ligon (AJUSD Technology Integration Specialist) and Robyn Gonzales (AJUSD Facilitator/Academic Coach) for the 2017-18 school year in the amount of $2,000 each.
According to the background information on the agenda item, “Employees in various central office roles previously received a performance pay stipend [Proposition 301]. When contracts were reissued to employees, the stipend that they had previously received and expected as part of their compensation package was not added to the contract. For the 2018-2019 [school year], we will bring forward a plan to address employee groups with direct impact on student achievement who do not qualify for performance pay under Proposition 301.” The stipends will be paid from the Maintenance and Operations budget.
Prop 301 funds are intended to be performance pay, distributed to classroom teachers only, upon verification of achieved goals. Positions such as those held by Davis, Ligon and Gonzales are considered educational support. While they do have a direct impact on student performance, they are not eligible to receive Prop 301 funds.
The non-qualified payment of Prop 301 stipends was discovered earlier this year as contracts for the 2017-18 school year were being distributed. Contracts were reissued with the Prop 301 funds omitted.
The agenda item passed 5-0.
The Board also unanimously approved a motion to rescind and nullify all current and past policies of AJUSD 43 with the exception of section G (human resources) and to adopt the new policy manual that had been developed with consulting assistance from the Arizona School Board Association (ASBA). “These are the policies that we went through with the ASBA to review and update all policies,” explained Board President Jodi Ehrlich. “This hasn’t been done for about ten years, and it needed to be done to get everything updated and current with ASBA recommendations.”
The action excluded section G, which contains human resources policies that are specific to the district and cannot be rescinded without having district specific replacements ready to go. The Board will review section G in the near future. “What we have scheduled is to bring a set of policies to every Board work session, with the idea that we will bring it back to the next regular Board meeting to be voted upon,” clarified Anderson.