Teachers benefit from state education funds

The Grand Canyon School Board made quick work of a light agenda last week, adopting this year's budget, approving two textbooks for middle school and revising the extra duty pay schedule.

The Board adopted the $3.2 million budget as presented with the understanding that it will increase by $21,000 due to an increase in education funding in the state budget.

According to School Business Manager Lee Metheny, all of the money goes to certified staff and will result in an increase of $500 for each teacher.

As adopted, this year's budget is 2.81 percent above last year's.

Metheny explained that although the numbers are changing, the board needed to adopt this budget with plans to revise the budget when final figures are in.

As expected, the overall tax rate remains the same, with the primary rate increasing by about 5 cents, from $4.09 to $4.14 per $1,000 valuation and the secondary rate dropping 5 cents, from $3.34 to $3.28 per $1,000 valuation.

The Board also approved American and world history texts presented by Jean Johnson who taught those subjects in the middle school last year.

"She did a great job," said Superintendent Sheila Breen. "One of the things I really liked is that she had the kids go through the textbooks that were sent to us and make recommendations as well."

The board adopted "Ancient Civilizations Survey Edition" published by Prentice-Hall and "Creating America." Breen said that the sales rep gave the school a deal on the American history texts, providing $750 worth of teacher and supplemental materials for free.

Board member Chuck Wahler asked if there was a requirement that textbooks be on display and available for public inspection for 60 days prior to adoption.

Breen said that unofficially, the books have been available for more than 60 days in Johnson's classroom.

"If you want to do it, we can go through that 60 days," she said.

Dean of Students Becky Crumbo said that the books are the best match to state standards.

"Jean did an excellent job as well researching curriculum that reflected the standards. There were none in Arizona and in the end, she wrote the first sixth, seventh and eighth-grade curriculum in Arizona."

In the standard yearly review of the extra-duty pay schedule, Breen said the only change is the addition of team leaders to coordinate curriculum and mentor teachers under the International Baccalaureate program.

Under last year's pay schedule, up to six areas of interaction leaders were authorized, though only two were assigned.

Crumbo said that this year, they would like five area of interaction leaders, one for each of the five approaches to learning, and up to four team leaders to coordinate horizontal alignment and serve as mentors.

She said that she assigned middle school teacher Lori Rommel take the place of high school teacher Diane Williams in the area of Approaches to Learning.

"It was a problem last year that we didn't have any middle school people on that team and now we do," Crumbo said.

Rommel will also serve as a team leader for the middle school, while Betty Hultin will be the ninth-grade team leader. Dan Lopez will be Discovery trainer, a role he has already assumed, said Crumbo.

"He pretty much became the mentor of the teachers and met with them often," she said. "I would like to make him the official Discovery mentor of teachers. That made a big difference in our Discovery program when we did that."

The board also approved several extra duty contracts, accepting Rommel and Hultin as IB team leaders and Lopez as Discovery team leader. They also approved extra duty contracts for Areas of Interaction leaders for Crumbo, Rommel, Lopez, Hultin and Amy McBroom. Contracts were also approved for Jane Halvorson as math curriculum coordinator, Becky Crumbo as testing coordinator and Laura Kelso as gifted coordinator.

Three potential substitute teachers were approved ­ Suzanna Miller, Marjorie Woodruff and Rene Westbrook.

In her report Breen said that with two days until deadline, they had not yet received any bids in response to a request for proposals for outside work on the buildings.

The scope of the work includes replacing vigas, painting, concrete and new doors with a security card system instead of keyed locks.

She also reported that Marjorie Woodruff will maintain the school's Web site.

The board conducted first readings of several policy advisories from the Arizona School Board Association regarding food service and child nutrition. Copies of the policies are available for review at the district office. The Board agreed that they would hold their annual retreat on Friday, Aug. 11, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., in the Kiva Room at Thunderbird Lodge.

The next monthly meeting is Tuesday, Aug. 8, at 6:30 p.m. in the school library.

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