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Toltec School District welcomes new board members
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ARIZONA CITY — It was a memorable night for the Toltec School District Governing Board as three new faces were welcomed along with the return of one current board member.

During the Dec. 17 meeting Lewis Cortright, William Doherty and James Gray took the oath of office as well as Timothy Cason.

Cortright and Gray will serve four-year terms and Doherty will serve a two-year term to fill a vacancy.

Cason was first appointed to the board in 2019 to fill a seat vacancy and will serve a two-year term.

Leaving the board were Dennis Callahan and Pam Long.

“It has been a pleasure,” Callahan said. “It has been exciting, it’s been a lot of fun, we’ve done a lot of fun things. I would have never anticipated when I ran for office that it would be what it has been, and I’ve met as many people as I’ve met and encountered as many things as I’ve encountered but it has been a blast. I’ve made some relationships with people that will never forget me.”

Board President Mark Lindgren thanked Callahan for his years of voluntary service and added, “I loved agreeing to disagree with you all the time.”

“You’ve put up with things I don’t know if I could have made it through myself,” Lindgren said to both Callahan and Long. “You guys have done your job and due diligence for the school district.”

Callahan and Long both served on the board for four years.

“Needless to say, it’s been real,” Long said. “It’s been interesting, it’s been an honor and it’s been a pleasure. It’s been something that I don’t think I anticipated all what it would be, but it’s been good and I’m very proud to have served on the board and proud to be a member of the community. Dennis and I are more than happy to leave the district in such good hands with the new board members. I know you guys are going to do such a wonderful job, Dennis and I are a hard act to follow. I do want you to know that.”

Both Long and Callahan agreed that they learned to collaborate, and they have come a long way from the first day they served on the board.

During the meeting Superintendent Denise Rogers announced to the board that Arizona City Elementary received a $5,000 grant from Arizona Public Service Co. and nearly 1,000 face masks from Pinal County School Superintendent Jill Broussard.

There was also a hearing to revise the budget for Fiscal Year 2021.

According to Business Manager Tim McCain, the revised budget reflects an $800,000 decrease due to a decrease in enrollment, but an Enrollment Stability Grant will help mitigate some of the effects.

“The government changed the way they calculate the Enrollment Stability Grant,” McCain said.

The state previously stated that it would pay 98% of the previous year’s enrollment but now it is $500 per current student enrollment.

The district expected to receive approximately $887,000 and will now receive $426,000. McCain added that the district has saved some money during the pandemic in utility costs, a reduction of substitute teachers and a reduced cost of fuel for the buses.

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AZ City Boys & Girls Club remains closed
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ARIZONA CITY – Since 2004 the Boys and Girls Club has provided kids in the community a place to go after school.

Well, that was until the pandemic hit.

According to executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sun Corridor, Matt Lemberg, the Arizona City location was the first school-based club, which is why kids in Arizona City have had a slightly more difficult time during this pandemic then those who participate in the Boys & Girls club in other communities.

Due to COVID-19, Arizona City Elementary has kept its doors closed since March and has not allowed any activities to be hosted on campus.

“Our mission is to inspire and enable young people to realize their full potential as caring, productive and responsible citizens,” Lemberg said. “I would have told you 15 years ago that it is tough to be a child and I would say that even more today, it is certain tough to be a child in the last 9 months.”

Lemberg added that the organization has reopened in Casa Grande and recently opened a location in Maricopa.

“We have limited capacity and are operating with no more than 12 kids in a room,” he said. “We have changed the activities that we’re doing. One of the nice things that have happened over the last months is a lot of entities have been forced to think outside the box.”

The Boys & Girls Club currently offers a learning lab in Casa Grande were kids show up with their learning devices and the staff helps them connect to their classrooms and they help with the online process.

“Education is a very different model than what it was when we were going to school,” Lemberg said. “We have one kid that every day can never log into their Google classroom. The other day and a 4th grader was doing virtual P.E. and no joke was just running in place. That is just a different world than when I was a child.”

With the limited number of kids in a room, Lemberg said that there is currently a waiting list of about 100 kids at each location but they are remaining positive with the few kids that do have a place to go which is that any number of kids is better than zero.

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AZCFD board sets new meeting time
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ARIZONA CITY — The Arizona City Fire District board will begin holding its monthly meeting at 6 p.m. beginning in January.

“It was brought to us at the end of the last meeting that we had a couple members struggling to get here by five o’clock due to work considerations,” Fire Chief Jeff Heaton said. “It was brought up to maybe move the meeting to six o’clock but because it wasn’t on the agenda last month, we couldn’t talk about it.”

Board Chairman Tim McCain said he was open to any time the rest of the board agreed on, but that any time later than 5 p.m. worked best for him.

Board Clerk Dean Craun agreed with McCain and was in favor of pushing the meeting time back one hour.

The rest of the board agreed as Randy Johnson and Dewayne Hill echoed, “Works for me.”

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 11.

Heaton also provided the board with an update on the district’s grant money that continues to trickle in.

The district has currently received over $125,000 in grants.

“That’s just three of the grants that we have open so far,” Heaton said. “We expect more to come in.”