Kyrene School Board briefs

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Kyrene School Board briefs

The Governing Board of the Kyrene district started 2016 by reviewing a broad range of topics vital to the operation their 25 schools during the first meeting of the New Year.

Restoring funds to Kyrene schools

During a meeting in December, Board members agreed to restore funds to the district’s schools, which were cut during the last budget cycle.

At that time, Jeremy Calles, the district’s chief financial officer, introduced a proposal to the board of allocating $300,000. Calles explained that the money would come from a re-payment of more than that amount from the state.

The proposal came up for a formal vote on Jan. 16 and board members agreed to restore even more money —$500,000 to the schools– after a new chart prepared by Calles offered several scenarios on the use of the re-paid funds. Board members agreed that their top priority was to return as much money to the schools as possible.

While the schools will be given some discretion as to how to put the returned funds to use, the district’s preference would be that the returned money be allocated to the M&O, capital or sub- budgets.

“The money will be made available, as soon as possible, and used by the schools for what they determine is their top priority,” said Calles.

Each of the 25 district schools would receive the returned funds based on a percentage of the money that was actually cut during this fiscal year.

 

Update to schedule for the superintendent search

Board members received an update on the search to replace current superintendent David Schauer, who announced his retirement, effective with the end of this school year.

In a previous meeting, the board selected professional recruiters, McPherson & Jacobson, L.L.C., to coordinate the search process for the superintendent position, who oversees all the staff at the district office and in the 25 schools.

The process began several months ago by gathering input from the board and the public on the desired characteristics needed for the leader of the Kyrene district.

Currently the application process is being advertised and applications will be accepted until Feb. 15, explained Rosalie Hirano, the Kyrene staff person coordinating the search.

“The next step will be for the board to decide on the type of interview process they want to use for the applicants. This will be on the agenda for the next meeting on Jan. 26,” said Hirano.

During the week of Feb. 19, the applications will be given to board members; and, those candidates selected to interview will be made by consensus of the board.

Interviews are expected to be scheduled during the week of March 28 with a final candidate chosen by April 4.

If you have any questions, the Governing Board has designated Rosalie Hirano, as the staff point of contact for the superintendent search. She will forward all questions or comments to the board members.  She can be contacted by email at: rhirano@kyrene.org or at by phone at 480-541-1528.

 

60-day review of proposed instructional materials

Maintaining an updated supply of instructional materials is a constant challenge for the district, explained Jim Verrill, the director of curriculum and learning services for the district. Not only does information become dated quickly, but previously, replacement materials were not included as a line item in the budget.

“To get current teaching tools, many teachers were forced to dip into their own pockets to meet the needs,” said Verrill, during a presentation to the district’s Governing Board.

His recommendation is to include a line item in the upcoming budget cycle of a little more than $2 million, which would include instructional materials and equipment such as calculators.

With the money, the district also could replace or repair musical instruments and sports equipment that is used for the specials courses.

Currently, the Kyrene School District is seeking to adopt instructional resources for K-8 English Language Arts as well as advanced high-school level Geometry, and has initiated the required 60-day public review period. This continues through Feb. 9.

These materials provide teachers with support in teaching the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards in these subject areas. The materials provide lesson plans, assessments, and instructional strategies to support teacher planning.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are free resources that may include units, lessons, text resources, assessments, and multimedia aligned with learning outcomes. While free, these units may require the purchase of novels or other materials that support instruction. Like any curriculum resource, individual Open Educational Resources may or may not be comprehensive enough teach all standards and may require modification to meet the specific needs of Kyrene teachers and students. If a resource is identified through this 60-day review, it will provide a framework for comprehensive planning of units to be shared across the district.

Parents and members of the general public are invited to participate in the review process. The English Language Arts and Geometry resources are available for public review at the Ben Furlong Kyrene School District Office at 8700 S. Kyrene Road, which is located on the northwest corner of Kyrene Road and Warner Road.

Print resources will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday.  Additional digital resources will be accessible to the public by appointment only.  Please contact the Curriculum and Learning Services Department at 480-541-1250 to make an appointment to view these online resources.

 

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