This is a recap of the January 10th, 2023, Deer Valley Unified School District Governing Board Meeting.
Board Members in Attendance
Ann Ordway, Jennie Paperman, Kimberly Fisher, Stephanie Simacek, and Paul Carver
3A. Election of Temporary President
The first order of business was to elect the temporary board president to call the meeting to order and initiate the vote to choose a successor to Mrs. O’Brien. Mrs. Ordway motioned to nominate Mrs. Paperman as temporary president. Mrs. Simacek seconded that motion. Unanimously approved.
With some guidance from Mrs. Ordway, the meeting was officially called to order a 7:03 and the agenda was adopted unanimously.
4. Organizational Meeting – Election of Officers
4A. Election of President of the Governing Board
Mrs. Ordway nominated Mrs. Paperman, seconded by Mrs. Simacek.
Mrs. Paperman: “First of all I’d like to let the public know that the last two weeks have been very stressful, harassment over who’s going to be President or Vice President. I gave it a lot of thought, and I’m going to put my family first, I don’t need community members to come to my home and do threats, so I will accept to be President.”
There were five individuals who spoke during public comments on this agenda item. In general, District News does not recap these, but you can watch for yourself starting around the 10:00 mark in the video.
The vote was called, and Mrs. paperman was unanimously elected as President of the DVUSD Governing Board.
4B. Election of the Vice President of the Governing Board
Mrs. Paperman nominates Mrs. Fisher as Vice President, seconded by Mr. Carver.
Paperman, Fisher, and Carver vote aye, and Mrs. Paperman is reminded that she also needs to call for opposition votes.
Mrs. Ordway: “I’m going to explain my vote, which is going to be nay. I believe that…”
Paperman interrupts: “I say aye.”
Ordway: “I was talking, I was kind of talking.”
Ordway: “My vote is nay for Mrs. Fisher for a myriad of reasons. I guess they’re too numerous to count; I just hope that she can take some lead from leadership that does not utilize social media to berate and denigrate our district anymore. And that she will be working together with Dr. Finch (Fisher can be seen shaking her head) and show the respect that she’s shown and Jennie, good luck to you. So my vote is no.”
Mrs. Simacek: “I would also like to explain my vote of nay. I know I’m new to the board, but I have been a parent of this district and actively involved in this community for over nine years. And the behavior I’ve seen and personally experienced with one of our board members is not somebody who I feel should be on the board, and additionally not having a leadership position on the board. So my vote is nay.”
Motion passes 3:2, with Simacek and Ordway voting nay.
4C. Appoint Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) Legislative Delegate
Mrs. Fisher nominates Mr. Carver, seconded by Mrs. Ordway. Passes unanimously. Mrs. Paperman congratulates Kim Fisher and Paul Carver before realizing there is one more vote.
4D. Appoint Arizona School Board Association (ASBA) Delegate Alternate
Mrs. Ordway nominates Mrs. Simacek, Simacek seconds. Motion passes 3:2, Fisher and Carver Nay.
5. District Reports
5A. Finance Report
Starting with the Student Enrollment Report, through Dec 14th, there is an increase of 131 students over the same time last year, or an increase of 0.4%. This is attributed mostly to our families from TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company). We continue to see them coming in. As you know, the funding is from the aggregate enrollment from our 1st through 100th day, so since we were already on the 87th day before these students came in, we will not receive a full year of funding, but we know that we’ll wow these students with our wonderful teachers and staff. We will see the coming back and see them in our district next year.
Questions – Mrs. Simacek: When we go over the number, the understanding was that we allow a certain number of students per classroom, but when we’ve gone significantly over that number plus each teacher sitting on an additional +1, then we go to hire another teacher. Is that something that stopped the second half of the school year? Just trying to understand what the process is for when several classrooms are over numbers. Answer: The best qualified to answer this is Mrs. Moffit from HR; we do have certain practices that are outlined in our certified manual. Depending on the time of year and how many students a class might be over, it might trigger an aide versus a teacher. Mrs. Moffit: That explanation is correct. We monitor this weekly, and we consider open enrollment applications pending in that location and if we see enough students at that level and open enrollment in that section, we may add additional staffing earlier than the manual prescribes. *continues about the report possibly being misleading due to alternative programming for some students – the sound was cutting in and out*
Mrs. Paperman moves to the next agenda item, reminded by Mrs. Mock that there is one more finance report to review.
M&O Budget Report for the month of December. We’re managing our budget well and have significant savings, mostly from vacancies in staffing shortages. We’re not projecting any viable carryforward at this time because the state legislature has not yet addressed the aggregate expenditure limit. As a reminder, the AEL is a formula-based budget limit. The formula was created in 1980 and is aggregate for all public school districts across the state. Enrollment and other factors from the previous year determine how much they can spend. Ironically, it is completely separate from the revenue formulas used and that established our budget in July. So the revenues we’re receiving and funding we’re receiving are based on that budget; however, because of the AEL, all public school districts across the state will have to cut collectively $1.3B from their budgets this school year. All signs lead to the legislature rectifying this; we just don’t know the timing of it yet. At that time, we’ll have a better idea of what that looks like. Our portion of that cut would $46.7M. We would address part of that through unallocated funds from last year. On Dec 13th the board approved a salary increase should the AEL be lifted. If it isn’t lifted, we’d use some of that funding.
Questions – Mrs. Ordway: The number mentioned in the billion dollar range, is that the same number or similar to the number that we didn’t get a couple of years ago but didn’t get? When there was that lawsuit, the money that they owed us? A. Not sure of that, because the limit is truly based on the formula. It wouldn’t be easy to compare.
Questions – Mrs. Fisher: I saw earlier that there is already a bill in place. Looks like a one-year override. Is there anyone trying to lobby for this to be more of a permanent solution? Answer: The short answer is yes – Dr. Finch: I think they will have to compromise. Doesn’t see a solution that is long-term immediately, they won’t come to a compromise that early out of the gate. It’s likely going to come with some strings, like historically has been the case, especially in a divided government.
6. Call to the Public
Outside of the public comments during agenda section 4. Organizational Meeting – Election of Officers, there was no public comment at this meeting.
7. Old Business
7A. Approve Governing Board Policy KB – Parental Involvement in Education
This item was previewed and discussed at the December 13th, 2022, DVUSD Governing Board meeting. Mrs. Paperman asked for questions or comments.
Mrs. Fisher: There are several concerns about this policy. Number one, it removes the governing board completely from its responsibility to work on the processes. It removes the parents’ process to appeal directly to the governing board. I would ask that we vote no passing as is and plan a study session of some sort to review some of the policies that are in process, including this one, so we can be sure what we’re voting on. There’s never been a real discussion on this.
Mrs. Paperman: Also looked at this policy and has stated in previous meetings that before voting on policies, there should be a discussion, not just pass policies because they’re on the agenda.
Mr. Carver: His concern with the proposal is that his understanding is that the district receives these proposals based on legislative changes and ASBA review. His question is what part of these changes is because of legislative changes and what part is being proposed by the ASBA. Says that he appreciates what the ASBA does in these reviews but believes we shouldn’t just pass and absolve the board of responsibility. Would agree with legislative changes, but the ASBA changes he’d like to look at them and understand why they suggest those.
Mrs. Ordway: Because we have two board members who were not part of the discussions and can’t send in questions and other changes, she will agree to table this. But for the record, this policy has been discussed; members have had the opportunity to discuss this item, send in questions, and get responses, which have been in updates and discussions. Moving forward, for everyone, when we do have updates on policies due to legislation, we should make sure we have a certain color so we can understand what we’re changing for statutes vs. recommendations.
After some confusion on how to proceed and what is being voted on, the motion fails 4:1, Mrs. Ordway nay. Keeping old changes until this can be discussed further at a future meeting.
8. Consent Agenda
9. Action Items
9A. Approve Employee Professional Development
9B. Approve Addenda Pre-Approvals
Mrs. Fisher: Again, noticing this is mostly student-raised money. Do we have any coaches that are not covered by students having to work for their coaches?
Answer: We have M&O-funded coaching positions as well as special revenue accounts that pay for extracurriculars.
Mrs. Fisher: So they actively solicit students to raise funds for the positions?
Answer: It’s the students’ choice.
Mrs. Fisher still believes it falls under student-raised funds as described by the attorney general, so is voting nay.
Motion passes 3:2, Fisher and Carver voting nay.
10A. Governing Board Reports
Board Reports – Mr. Carver: Wants to take a second to thank all the people that make our school district go, that are here to help our children grow and become contributing members of society. It takes a special type of person to teach our children daily and work through the myriad of concerns they bring. You have a special heart and should be thanked for that. Thankful to have the opportunity to serve the community and would encourage everybody that if you have concerns about him, his character, or what’s going on, never hesitate to reach out to him via district email. He doesn’t shy away from questions – he’s happy to educate people on the process that they go through on the board, how things can get done and can’t get done, and anything else along the way. Believes that life is a continual process of being educated and educating those around you. We’re all here for the common goal of helping the children, and helping children be the best version of them they can be, so let’s be about the children. You can reach Mr. Carver at [email protected].
Board Reports – Mrs. Ordway: Shout out to Connor, a boyscout who is working on his communication badge. Eli is also there to earn a badge. Wanted to recognize that. Wanted to make sure that all board members keep in mind that politics should be kept out of the board room as much as possible.
She visited Goldwater, New River Elem, and Boulder Creek and would like to continue visiting the campuses to ensure everyone knows who the board members are and what they do.
Along with DVEF, she delivered another 110+ gift cards to 13 of our schools to support our families in need. We’re working on a program so that when schools host food drives, we can help our sister schools first. Working on a similar food drive for spring break.
It’s only January, but come February, she’ll be asking for clothing for the Prom for the boys and girls to be able to pick from 800+ dresses/outfits.
Congratulations to Mrs. Fisher and Mrs. Paperman “I hope you take your titles as seriously as they should be.”
Board Reports – Mrs. Simacek: Thank you to our community for electing Paul and herself to the governing board. Her goal is to focus on class sizes, teacher retention, and building our community. She’s been a teacher, and she knows what teachers do and values that. Wants to do everything to support our students. Looks forward to attending Goldwater’s passion projects tomorrow; there will be the sophomores showcasing their passion projects which range from cooking to poetry to gardening, and they will have them up on display from 5-7 at BGHS. Invites the community to join. Excited to get out into the community over the next few weeks and visit additional campuses.
Board Reports – Mrs. Fisher: Wanted it to be shorter but has quite a few notes. “We attended the ASBA conference at the end of last year, after our last meeting. We had our usual, different things, but one of the sessions that Mr. Carver and I attended was I think, very significant. I know, well I saw it happening on, unfolding live or on Facebook or something, and I’m sure a lot of people are aware of what happened in Laveen, er Vail. The board was kind of secluded and people were having some kind of a riot in the room and they voted people there and, basically it was kind of chaos. And you would think they are really struggling right now because of that chaos that ensued. People ran, things changed, and you’d think they were still in that chaos. But we were pleasantly pleased, weren’t we? That they’re not. They’re not in chaos. Their board decided that it was time to unite their community. And what they did was invited everybody in. They invited the people that are always selected to be the insiders, they elected the people who had grievances, they brought in the people who were from all walks of life – had kids, didn’t have kids, were community members, and they worked hard to take steps to unite their community on the items they could unite around. Listening to their whole presentation shocked me, but it was in stark difference from what we have done. The numbers on the seats, closing doors, shutting people out. Having people arrested for not sitting in the right seat or rushed out. I really hope that we as a board start looking at our plans, we maybe look at what it was that they did, and obviously you can’t mirror, it’s not the same people, but if we can make the effort to do what they did, they managed to unite their people, their community. It wasn’t just the same players, it was everybody. It was a wonderful example of what can happen versus what happens when you don’t want to do that work. So, that was great.”
“Mrs. Paperman and I attended the inaugural event last week, we were obviously there for Tom Horne, and afterwards I enjoyed going to lunch with Mr. Horne and some of his top staff. I am hopeful, he has some really wonderful things he wants to bring to education. Number one, raising standards to make sure we’re actually educating kids, that they can get that path to move forward and it’s something they can actually really show. His speech was really good as well.”
“I did receive two concerns within the last couple of days regarding, one came from teachers that their concern was about a training they were made to take, called something about unconscious bias training and they were concerned that, number one they felt they’re not bias, they get that training on a regular basis and they were somewhat concerned they were being forced through the training. They were additionally concerned that they are going to again this week have to miss their prep time to go through the second stage of the training… so I, because it came to me fairly quickly, I just want more information on what that could be, what that was, I’m not to teachers having whatever trainings are necessary, but I am opposed to them using their prep time when they’re already overloaded. So if you could just give us more information on that one.”
“I also received several concerns over break regarding of course standards-based grading. Our teachers are concerned, our parents are concerned, and it’s not just one school or one area. I received concerns from teachers in Deer Valley, High School, where it’s not yet, but they are concerned. I received communication from parents and teachers at both BGHS and BCHS, and one of the major concerns continues to be the lack of consistency – this school does this school does that, which is counterintuitive to what even I think the people who support its goals were. So I’m requesting we get Standards-Based Grading back on the agenda.”
“And I do want to a brief response or comment of four things that were mentioned – lack of respect, race, fake narratives/campaigns, and harassment. I am very disappointed at everybody, and myself included, because I am trained well enough to know when someone is gaslighting you, and they just want that response. And unfortunately, I’ve given that response, I’ve out of frustration. However, that lack of respect that is given, is not a one-way street. That lack of respect has been extreme and detrimental to people’s lives. Oh you said something mean one time, so I’m not going to gaslight your entire life. You know, I can’t even tell people where I work because I’m fearful that someone on the other side is going to call my work and do whatever because parents have done it to each other. What a shameful thing to do. What a shameful people that you’re going to call other parents because well I believe this and they believe that so I’m going to see if I can get them fired. What, that is just horrible.”
“I’m supposedly the one that creates the issues; there are three fake pages created with information that is absolutely nothing about me.”
“One of the emails I received over the break, to me, I almost wanted to laugh, honestly I had to share it with my son’s abilitator, a cousin of mine, my daughter, and son, it was talking about how I don’t support LGBTQ. No, you know what I don’t support? I don’t support anybody teaching children away from what their parents say. What their parents want. That is their parents’ jobs. If I truly was so against LGBTQ, FYI, my son’s abilitator is an elderly, well I call him that, he’s older than me I enjoy that, gay man. And I like his, and actually friends with his husband. Do I like his lifestyle? No. Does he know I don’t agree with his lifestyle? Yes. We love each other. He has worked for me for six years. And every time one of you wants to come and say something like that, it hurts him and insults him. Same goes for a gal who, is a friend of my daughters, who has called me Mom for five years. And she’s gay. And she’s not going to change whether you like it or not. And not even me, you’re insulting her, you’re insulting all of them. You don’t have a clue who I am – you can shake your head all you want, but you can’t lie your way into this. And these lies that are being created by a small group of individuals, you’re hurting the whole district. So stop. The campaigns of harassment, the campaigns of harassment need to stop. Period. I don’t care who you are, it needs to stop. If you have an LGBTQ whatever kid in your class, I honestly don’t believe you’re going to hurt them, or mistreat them, or segregate them in any way shape or form because I never, well I guess I can’t say never… It’s rare that I have ever seen a teacher who would do that. And so it needs to stop. The statements about board members, when you don’t even know who they are, don’t know anything about their life, it’s wrong and needs to stop.”
“And I wouldn’t have said anything about all this except for the fact that I got a text message earlier today that Mrs. Paperman was in fear because people were outside of her home. Lord. You’re going to hunt down… Even when I did not like Ann O’Brien or Julie Read when people said I’m going to their home and harass them, I said you do not; that is wrong. That needs to stop. People who get elected to teh school board are not here to be open for the abuse of whatever your agenda is, whoever you are. All you’re doing is teaching kids to further hate and I am asking that it stops. I firmly believe that with the right techniques, this board can be productive regardless whether we believe the same things or not. It can. It will not happen if certain individuals because I don’t believe it’s a lot of the public, I believe it’s a handful, if they continue to tear this district apart for their agenda, nothing will get better. Period. To that, Mrs. Paperman, turn it over to you.”
Board Reports – Mrs. Paperman: “I would like to say Mrs. Fisher is right, the last two weeks I have been harassed who’s gonna be board president/vice president. I hadn’t realized how much negativity we have in our community even within our staff. I also got information. I feel we need a school board regardless if you like each other or not there has to be respect and harassing an individual is wrong. Coming to my property is wrong, and of course, I’m going to prioritize the safety of my family first.
One of the things that I have thought that is in order to have change, is going to take leadership. Having the right leadership running this district is going to be what takes change. We have so much hate in this community after everything I have gone through for these past two weeks, so at this point it’s going to be up to the governing board if we want change for this district. We have great cabinets doing a great job, they support our district, but we need to look at our superintendent – we need to see what happened throughout time.. and we need stop this negativity and harassment needs to stop. So this is going to be up to the governing board to take into consideration to move forward to bring change. Thank you.”
10B. Superintendent Report
Superintendent Report – Dr. Finch: “Yes, board members have sent people to my house as well, now that you’ve mentioned it. And we do need to stop that, I agree. I’ve had my windows shot out, I’ve been egged, all of the above. I would appreciate it, yeah, if the board would be congenial with each other, staff, that would be a plus – I would take it. From my perspective, I’ll put it in the Friday update, the board policy related to board reports, so new members know what’s supposed to be in a board report. It’s supposed to be about events, things you’re doing, things intersecting with what you’re doing in the board, in the schools, and in the district. So I’ll include that next time for the new board members.”
“This is board appreciation month, January, so I’d like to thank our new board members and board members that have been serving on our board for awhile. I know Mrs. Ordway, this is the start of her 15th year, so congratulations. We also have total boardsmanship award sitting over there that ASBA, from our previous board, so we’ll be hanging that in the lobby.”
“We just returned from winter break, and our PD on January 2nd went really well, it was great. If you missed the awards and recognitions that happened prior to the meeting, we had a three time state champ swimmer, MRHS state champion marching band, and then our bus garage won the highest award in the state for excellence related to safety. Obviously we started our banner machine, we gave out five A banners and have 20 more to go. 25 of our schools are A, as are 92% A or B! And I’ll be putting out the state of the district, that will be coming out in the voice soon here, corresponding with the state and national state of the state, again to reflect on this last year and how awesome it’s been. We continue to win every award and accolade that’s available. If it’s available to Deer Valley, Deer Valley is always mentioned in it.”
“Just hosted the ASA, Arizona Superintendents were in this room a couple days ago, and it’s great to hear what we’re doing statewide as we look to make a difference for kids together – obviously with a divided government we’re going to have to work together to find the best solutions in the middle. I predict we will. It’s just what it means for our staff, because we will have to be patient. Everything is going to slow down, and everything is going to happen at the last minute. It’s going to make superintendents jobs a little tougher as well. In my 24th year being a superintendent, this is not new and I’ve been in divided governments before so, we’ll just need to work together and have a little patience.”
“Have interfaith tomorrow, going to meet with our churches from around the community tomorrow on zoom. We do that a couple times a year, and you’re welcome to join us for that. Next Monday, Martin Luther King day, is no school – so we have a long weekend.”
“Just a reminder together we are better. Thank to all you service staff, thank you for putting up with us, we work with you, and thanks to the board for your service. As you celebrate your service, you’re going to earn that certificate that you’re going to get in January appreciation month. Thank you for your service, look forward to working with you.”