National Anthem

Adrienne Dienes, left, next year’s student body president at Poston Butte High School, and Angela Quintero Saldana, next year’s senior class president, sing the National Anthem at the start of the May 14 school board meeting at Poston Butte.

SAN TAN VALLEY — Florence Unified School District is closing out the old school year on a high note with $1.8 million in unexpected state funding and funds carried forward.

The Florence school board held a public hearing and approved the last budget revision of the year at its May 14 meeting at Poston Butte High School. The new funding will be used in: regular education, $644,746; special education, $833,448; pupil transportation, $107,386; and K-3 reading, $64,057.

A major portion of this new funding, $593,931, was the result of former business office employee Darlene Rogerson documenting a correction to district funding for the 2015-16 school year and the state finally approving it.

The district’s unrestricted capital fund also received an additional $173,390, and other capital funds were shifted around to cover $597,112 in bus lease-purchases and $117,360 in furniture and equipment.

The board also heard the first reading of an updated open enrollment policy. Assistant Superintendent Adam Leckie told the board the new policy “puts us more in alignment with state statute and surrounding school districts. It’s minor changes to the procedure.”

The old policy called for random selection of students for open enrollment, while the new policy has criteria.

“I looked at surrounding school districts’ policies and made it consistent and a little more transparent for parents,” Leckie told PinalCentral. “It doesn’t change our process really … it just streamlines it, puts it in alignment.” He said there are approximately 900 applications for open enrollment in the next school year.

The new policy says that in deciding whether to admit a nonresident student, the superintendent will determine if the school has the capacity to serve the student, including physical capacity of the building and classrooms, availability of staff, capacity in relevant special programs and other resources.

The superintendent may also consider the student’s prior educational status and/or juvenile court system status, including whether the student has been expelled by another school. Failure to disclose that a student has been expelled will result in revocation of the student’s acceptance for open enrollment.

The school can reject open-enrollment applications of returning students if they have failed to honor all school rules and regulations, including standards for academic effort, conduct and attendance.

Jason Stahl, career and technical education teacher at Poston Butte, told the board he was one of three teachers listed for “liquidated damages” and asked the board to consider waiving the damages. The district assesses damages of $1,500 to teachers who resign after signing a contract for the new school year. The majority of the board voted to charge Stahl damages, with Vice President Bob Dailey and Katrina Solis voting to waive them.

Board member Jim Thomas said, “We have several employees retiring at the end of the year. We’re sad to see them go but we wish them well and hope they have a happy retirement.”

Retiring employees are: Jerry Ysaguirre and Nina Roueche from Florence K-8; Twyla Bright from Poston Butte High School; Joan Copeland and Roberta Bishop from Copper Basin K-8; Kim Sizemore from San Tan Heights K-8; Irene Montano, Val Coppell and Shannon Coppell from San Tan Foothills High School; Marsha Woodruff, Walt Stoner and Elena Tejeda from Anthem K-8; Beth Marshall, David Kahn and Karen Ross from Skyline Ranch K-8; and Mary Grant from the district office.

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