All board members are present for the May 9th, 2023, governing board meeting for Deer Valley Unified School District.
- Jennie Paperman
- Kimberly Fisher
- Paul Carver
- Stephanie Simacek
- Ann Ordway
Special Meeting of the Governing Board – Public Hearing for the Fiscal Year 2022-23 Expenditure Budget Revision #2
Called to order at 7:02 PM, the meeting starts with a Special Meeting of the Governing Board: A Public Hearing for the Fiscal Year 2022-23 Expenditure Budget Revision #2. By law, the District must bring any revisions of the budget before May 15th to the Board and hold a public hearing to allow the public to discuss the revised budget prior to adoption by the Governing Board.
One public speaker asks that the District use every penny as wisely as possible. He says that as a taxpayer, he is not sure why school districts are always asking for bonds and overrides when they already have beautiful facilities, and it doesn’t cost that much to teach children to read.
Mr. Migliorino presents the official revised budget, clarifying that it is still subject to change throughout and beyond the fiscal year. This is the last time it is done formally and includes minor adjustments. Most notably, the changes are from student population changes for the current year – resulting in a $3.5M increase to the FY23 budget, up from the $279M when the budget was revised in December of 2022 and slightly up from the adopted budget from July 2022 of $276M. This $3.5M adjustment will be added to the budget and contribute to the carryforward for the 2024 budget.
Based on the public comment, Migliorino encourages stakeholders to visit the Budget411 page on the District website – fiscal accountability and budgets are posted there. This budget will be posted, pending the board’s approval in the meeting to follow. As Mrs. Fisher mentioned, the District must hear any public comments and answer any questions before ending the special session and voting on this item in the regular meeting.
Mrs. Paperman asks if there are any additional comments, of which there are not. The Special Meeting is adjourned at 7:10 PM.
Deer Valley Unified School District Regular Meeting of the Governing Board
The regular meeting of the DVUSD Governing Board was called to order at 7:11, with all board members present.
The motion to adopt the agenda passes unanimously.
3. District Reports
3A. Finance Report
Starting with the student enrollment report, through April 26th, enrollment increased by 8/10ths of a percent compared to the same time period as last year. For the second semester of the school year, DVUSD has been holding between 8/10ths of a percent and 1% compared to the previous year. The district is only funded by enrollment on the 100th day; this is comparing the 163rd day of this school year to the last school year. The funding is based on the January comparison because that’s when the 100th day was.
The M&O report for April is basically unchanged when it comes to the budget, pending the board’s action tonight regarding the budget revision from the public hearing. Currently showing a budget carryforward of $15M.
3B. Bond/Override Citizen Advisory Committee Update
Some information was shared with the board on April 25th; the final meeting took place on April 27th. Polling data was reviewed (402 responses for the phone poll), the list of needs was refined, reviewed the tax implications, and developed election recommendations. This is a report of the committee, and the action items are later in the agenda.
Override Takeaways from the Committee
- M&O Override is essential to stay competitive
- M&O Override has to be renewed at least every five years or it is statutorily reduced – the last renewal was in 2019
- DVUSD spends less than our comparable districts per pupil and gets better results, which makes it difficult to stay competitive in hiring
- DVUSD spends significantly less than the State average per pupil and gets significantly better results (and the State average per pupil is at or near the bottom in a ranking of all states)
The majority of the 15% override goes toward employee salaries. The override funds 8.5% of existing salaries, just over $16M. The override also funds class size reductions and specialized programs for students, including co-curricular, extra-curricular, and full-day kindergarten. Without the override, many of these reductions and programs could not exist.
The current tax rate for FY23 for the 15% M&O Override is $.96 per $100. So the annual tax levy for the average assessed valuation home of $246,320 is $237.65 per year. This override would have no tax impact – meaning there is no change; it is a continuation of an existing tax levy that has been in place for decades.
Committee M&O Override Recommendation
- Call for a November 7th, 2023 election to continue the 15% M&O Override to remain competitive in per pupil funding
- Continue to pay a portion (approximately 8.5%) of all M&O salaries to remain competitive
- Maximum class size to remain unchanged (would otherwise increase +3)
- Continue full-day Kindergarten and other specialized programs for students
- Continue to support extracurricular activities for students
- Continue to provide support services staff
- Continue to provide a portion (10%) of school and department budgets
*It is noted that the committee decided to recommend a 2023 election for this to avoid the potential political turmoil that will come with a 2024 Presidential election.
Bond Takeaways from the Committee
- The annual State funding formula does not provide enough resources to meet the capital needs of the District
- The last bond was approved in 2019 for a five-year capital plan (we have had a bond authorization in place for decades as well)
- Current developments have created a need for additional capital projects to be considered
- The committee is currently working on a list of projects to be considered for a future bond authorization
The major categories of Bond Capital Improvements include instruction-related needs (technology, athletics, fine arts), safety and security, building renewal, conservation, bus replacements, vehicle replacements, and new construction/growth. A few of the major bond projects included in the district proposal include security cameras, door safety, innovation center phase two, leased solar installation acquisition, Career and Technical Education (CTE) Trade Building at BGHS, Elementary #33, and the first phase of High School #6.
The detailed categories of the bond/override committee list of needs are presented in the slide deck. It would total $325M over a 5-year initiative. Because the district has an aggressive repayment schedule, the tax rate is reduced over time because the tax assessment rate increase. There are two options shown in the slide deck, a $175M option and a $325M bond option. Increases in annual Aggregate Debt Service payment (bond levy) are being offset by a decreasing tax rate, even with an increasing Assessed Valuation – property values go up, tax rates go down, which retains the same tax burden instead of increasing with property value.
402 high-efficacy voters were surveyed, and 40% strongly agree or somewhat agree that DVUSD uses money in a responsible manner. 69.4% strongly agree that they do not mind paying a few more dollars in school taxes as long as it is used to educate kids better. 59% were in favor of renewing the M&O override. 54.7% supported the $325M bond. 45.3% would be in favor of renewing both the M&O override and a new bond, with more support for the override. 91% strongly agree or somewhat agree that Safety and Security need to be increased. 62.2% are more likely to support the bond if it helped save operating costs for more dollars to go to the classroom.
The Committee is recommending that DVUSD call for a November 7th, 2023, election for a new bond authorization in the amount of $325M for five years – the alternative is for a new bond authorization in the amount of $175M for three years.
Carver: Wants to let Migliorino know how much he appreciates his work to prepare the district for growth while being sensitive to the fact that we’re in a financial hardship right now in our country. Says this will be a zero loss to the taxpayers as far as tax burden, and tax will actually decrease over time, as covered very well in the presentation. Says this is a good way to move forward while not causing any additional burden to the taxpayer.
Ordway: Point of clarification – are we paying the same for a special election compared to a normal year election?
Answer: The election cost would change depending on what else is on the ballot because there are some shared expenses with overlapping jurisdictions. We can only have the elections in November. Depending on what other jurisdictions are putting things on the ballot, it can change slightly.
Paperman: As far as Elementary #33 and High School #6, new construction and growth, and then everything else on the list we have money for, her concern is, is the majority of money going to be in building schools? Because there is a long list – for example, class sizes, new busses, counselors – so if we’re spending money building schools, how will we take care of everything else on the list?
Answer: These are two distinctive items – the M&O override is specifically for operational expenses, not to be used for building schools – this will be used for things like class sizes, salaries, etc. The Bond is specifically for building items, buses, safety, and things of that nature.
Paperman: Asks for an explanation, for the community, on what the percentage in the salaries for M&O override means.
Answer: That means that $16M of the current salaries are funded from M&O override. If it were to go away completely, all employees would have to take ab 8.5% salary reduction, or other adjustments would have to be made throughout the district.
Paperman: Says that staff salaries and everything else that needs to be taken care of are her priority. As far as building schools, she says we need to have a list of the total population of students so the board can see – some schools are underpopulated, and some that are overpopulated.
Simacek: Wants to clarify that the higher bond, $325M, would cover building the schools, and the $175M bond would not. The $325M would also cover additional buses.
4. Call to the Public
Several public speakers were in attendance for the May 9th Deer Valley Unified School District governing board meeting. Comments start around 41:00.
5. Old Business
5A. Approve City of Phoenix Letter of Intent for State Land Adjacent to Sandra Day O’Connor
The DVUSD Board is to consider an option to release the District from a state land lease for a portion of the property that Sandra Day O’Connor High School currently sits on. The District does not currently own the property, it was a 75-year lease when it was acquired back in the early 2000s. This would allow the District to release rights to the unbuildable land so that the city could purchase it from the State Land Department.
Most of the land up for discussion is unbuildable due to the topography, so the City is considering building a recreation area adjacent to the current recreation area. This would include a 250-foot buffer so that there would be some meaningful separation between the school property and the City of Phoenix trails.
To start the process, additional formal legal documents will need to be entered into, but the next step is the City reaching out to get community input. Once they receive that input, they may want to move forward based on what that input provides with the potential for the lease vacation with the State Land Department. A letter from the Arizona State Land Department is included to outline what that would entail.
If the City decides to move forward, they would then apply for the state land to put this portion of the parcel up for public sale. There would be a deed restriction on that sale, that it only be suited to be purchased by a municipality that would use it as a park. The only qualified bidder for that will be the City of Phoenix. Then the State Land Department would adjust the lease.
Mrs. Fisher: Since there will not be any monetary adjustments to the lease since the lease value is based on the land area in which the school is occupied, regardless of what we do, we’re going to pay the full lease, correct?
Answer: That is trying to convey that the parcel that the District is separating with is unbuildable. So when they value it, even though it’s a larger size geographically, because it’s unbuildable, they are deeming that the assessed valuation of the improved parcel that would have value remains. The parcel that the District retains under the lease. For everything else, they don’t think it has any monetary value because it is completely unbuildable for anything but a park or trail.
Mrs. Fisher: This is just our intent to move forward, correct?
Answer: That is correct.
Mrs. Fisher: When the actual agreement comes forward, if it has anything in it that’s questionable or not beneficial to Deer Valley, can we back out??
Answer: Yes. This is only the letter of intent that basically outlines what our intentions are and our understanding. The City letter also indicates their intentions so that they would be obligated to the same. Assuming all intentions are met in the letter of intent, it is believed, in good faith, that we would move forward so long as all of the intentions outlined in the letter of intent are met.
Mrs. Fisher: Explains that she is making sure that we are protecting Deer Valley. She does not trust the Phoenix City Council and does not trust the City of Phoenix. She has seen too much but thinks if it’s good for DVUSD, she is all in. She wants to ensure that when the final paperwork is presented, the board can say no if something is not okay for Deer Valley.
“I do not trust the Phoenix City Council. I don’t trust the City of Phoenix, to be perfectly honest, because I’ve seen too much…”– Kimberly Fisher, VP, DVUSD Governing Board
Response: The District believes that part of this will include an intergovernmental agreement that will not only have to be reviewed by the attorneys on either side but also approved by both bodies, the city council as well as the governing board. This will take a little bit of time to put together. We would not expect this to happen fast; just the community engagement will probably take months. It may take a year or two before this is brought back to the board.
The motion to approve the letter of intent passes unanimously.
5B. Approve the FY24 Negotiated Solution Team Salary Recommendation
Much of the information in the presentation was also showcased during the April 25th, 2023, Deer Valley Unified School District governing board meeting.
The Negotiated Solution Team (NST) met again on May 9th to conduct a debrief, which is part of the salary recommendation process. It is important to note that this recommendation is not something that was developed over a short period of time, and the NST process is memorialized in both the manual and rules that have been approved by the board. There were several attempts at creating the language in the presentation.
Since the State budget is not yet approved (they’re currently working on it), some budget assumptions were used throughout this process – the assumptions were conservative, it is likely that some additional funding beyond these assumptions becomes available. The assumptions were used in creating the reference for home much money the District would have available to allocate for salary increases for the upcoming year.
In reviewing a six-year snapshot, the admin exempt group is 31.4%, the majority being seen in flat rate increases. Between a flat and a percentage increase, the classified group has increased by 39.8%, without the minimum wage increases that have had to be added to the bottom of the schedule. Unfortunately, there was no funding increase when the minimum wage increased, so there was some wage compression at the bottom ranges. The District is currently in the middle of a job study that will be conducted and concluded in time to consider how we might address salary compression in future years (report coming in upcoming months). The third and final group, the certified group, saw a 50.5% increase during that same period – mainly due to the 20 by 2020 initiative Governor Ducey advocated for in those years. During those four years, there was a 23.5% increase for DVUSD teachers.
Salary increases will be as follows:
Certified Teachers & Other Professional Staff
- 2.0% salary increase on average to the base contract. 2.0% will be paid as a 60% percentage increase (1.2%) plus a 40% flat increase ($448/FTE). Certified teaching positions and other professional staff starting pay will increase by $450.
- In addition to the 2.0% salary increase, any individual who is employed by the District or on a personal leave of absence on May 1, 2023, shall be provided a retention payment as follows:
- An employee who is employed on August 10, 2023, and on active status will qualify for a one-time retention payment of $1,250/FTE. Payment shall be made on or about August 31, 2023.
- An employee who remains employed and is active status on April 18, 2024, will qualify for an additional one-time retention payment of $1,250/FTE. Payment shall be made on or about May 9, 2024.
- A flat $0.75/hour will be added to all Classified employees, with $0.75/hour to be added to each hiring rate of pay.
- In addition to the $0.75/hour increase above, an individual who is employed by the District or on a personal leave of absence on May 1, 2023, shall be provided a retention payment as follows:
- An employee who is employed on August 10, 2023, and on active status will qualify for a one-time retention payment of $1,250/FTE. Payment shall be made on or about August 31, 2023.
- An employee who remains employed and is active status1 on April 18, 2024, will qualify for an additional one-time retention payment of $1,250/FTE. Payment shall be made on or about May 9, 2024.
- A 2.0% increase, on average, will be paid as a 40% percentage increase (a 0.8% increase), plus a 60% flat-dollar increase of $1,082. All starting salaries will increase by $1,000.
- In addition to the 2% salary increase above, an individual who is employed by the District or on a personal leave of absence on May 1, 2023, shall be provided a retention payment as follows:
- An employee who remains employed and is on active status on April 18, 2024, will qualify for an additional one-time retention payment of $1,250/FTE. Payment shall be made on or about May 9, 2024.
If by August 1, 2023, additional undedicated funding becomes available in an amount greater than $2.0 million over the April 25th, 2023 budget projection, the Negotiated Solutions Team (NST) will reconvene to develop a recommendation to allocate these funds for the 2023-24 year
Classroom Site Fund eligible employee salaries will receive a change in funding due to the allocation increasing from $708/weighted student count in FY23 to $758 in FY24.
Three staff members who participated in the NST group were present to speak on behalf of the proposal, starting around 1:23:00.
Mrs. Ordway: Historically speaking, Ordway explains that it’s taken years of continuous improvement to develop the Negotiated Solution Teams model, which used to be much more contentious. She says it is important to understand the process because if you don’t understand the process and how they negotiate, it’s easy to comment that they may seem like they haven’t done their due diligence or watched out for the different employee groups. Ordway believes that when decisions are made at the dais, it is important to know the background information, read the information provided to be situationally aware, and trust the professionals that the board members claim to value.
Mrs. Fisher: Fisher says that she’s been in those contentious situations, and it doesn’t have to be that way. She acknowledges the notable work done on this submission, but that does not mean the board gets to trust because it is their job to ensure all the District’s needs are being met. That’s why she continually brings up the classified staff, but she’s glad to see that it’s improving.
She says that this process does not nullify the importance of the future recommendations of the job study that is being conducted – she believes it is imperative for next year. It does not mitigate the work done in the past to fix that scatter plot of to fix compression. Clarifying that this consideration is not an example, she says that sometimes the board needs to step in and ensure that the whole district is being considered.
Fisher thanks the committee for the work that has been done.
Mrs. Paperman: She’s curious to about the salary hourly rate maximum caps; what did it look like before 2005?
Answer: There was a step and column salary schedule for all positions. There was a limit, and you had to progress through the matrix. You were only so many years that you would have to be on one level and then have to take additional professional development to move to a different column. As you moved or progressed through the columns, it provided more opportunities for salary earning. It was the traditional step and column salary schedule, with a limit at each one of those levels.
The current process allows the District to take a pool of money and apply it to the schedules deemed necessary by the NST group to be able to address the issues that the District is dealing with. It’s worth noting that without exception in the employee groups, the recommendations have recognized the need to address the classified vacancies throughout the district in the last two years.
Mrs. Paperman: Explains that with the increased cost of living, she believes there needs to be additional focus on the bottom of the schedule, classified employees. She believes this is a great solution, but the District can do better in the future.
The motion passes unanimously.
5C. Approve the Tax Credit and Fee Authorization for 2023-24
There are minor changes to the fee schedules since as the Tax Credit and Fee Authorization for 2023-24 is presented for the third time.
The motion passes unanimously.
6. Consent Agenda
The motion to approve 6A-6H passes unanimously.
- 6A. Approve Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Governing Board on April 25, 2023
- 6B. Student Travel
- 6C. Approve Human Resources Changes
- 6D. Approve Vouchers
- 6E. Approve Donations
- 6F. Approve Addenda Contracts
- 6G. Authorization to Enter into Additional Cooperative Contract PUrchases for Fiscal Year 2022-23
- 6H. Approval of Additional RFP/IFB Multiple Year Contract Renewals for Fiscal Year 2022-23
7A. Deer Valley Unified School District Grading Practices
On February 14th, the Deer Valley Unified School District approved the removal of Standards Based Grading (SBG) from its practice, to be replaced by traditional grading at all DVUSD schools no later than July 31st, 2023. The replacement model was previewed at the May 2nd study session. If approved, this hybrid process will be implemented.
One public speaker on this topic spoke in support of the grading system presented at the May 2nd study session.
Mrs. Ordway: Says that she has ‘curiosities’ about this action item – on May 2nd, the board had a work session, which did not and was not framed in a way that there was going to be a vote – the vote happened on February 14th, and the work session was to review the new process and implementation of the grading practices with the parameters that had been given. Ordway clarifies that a work session is not a preview of an item that will be put on as an action item, so putting it on as an action item without announcing that there would be a vote caused stakeholders not to attend a meeting they otherwise might have.
Ordway says that she received emails from stakeholders that said they would have gone to the work session if they had known it was to discuss something that would be up for a vote. She says that this was a disingenuous way to bring this topic back for a vote.
Mrs. Paperman: Says that the board has already voted to have traditional grading – Mr. Carver had requested the May 2nd study session to review the transition. When she communicated with Dr. Finch about the transition, she was told that the transition that Dr. Galligan was going to put in place is what the District was going to use.
Paperman says that teachers emailed that their schools had been telling them they would be using the presentation Dr. Galligan had come up with, so she communicated with Dr. Finch that the board had not approved this presentation. This was a transition just to see what it was going to look like, and she had requested feedback from community members and staff. She says that this process can be implemented only by putting it on the agenda.
Mrs. Ordway: Ordway says that Mrs. Paperman put something on social media that was going to be voted for, which could be considered an Open Meeting Law violation. Her point is that whether or not a hundred people emailed Paperman their feedback, if three board members knew that this would be a vote prior to it being on the agenda as a vote. Ordway says it’s not following the process and procedures. She says this is why people think the board is dysfunctional.
Ordway says that she does not appreciate the lack of opportunity to actually do this as a board with all of the background, devaluing the hundreds of hours these highly trained teachers put into it, wasting their time because the board doesn’t want to have a vote.
we don’t follow our process. We don’t follow our procedures. And we wonder why people think we’re a dysfunctional.– Ann Ordway, DVUSD Governing Board Member
Mrs. Paperman: “Well, if the Superintendent wasn’t insubordination to the governing board where we voted for traditional grading, this wouldn’t have been an issue. But Dr. Finch made his own decision to have the schools to pull SBG.”
Mrs. Fisher: Says she wants to be perfectly clear. On February 14th, three board members of this board voted. So the majority of this board voted that the governing board approved replacing standards-based grading with traditional grading at all DVUSD schools no later than July 31st, 2023. She says what was presented on May 2nd was not that.
Fisher says, “So in order for anything other than traditional grading to be put in place, the board would have to vote to put something other than traditional standards-based, or traditional rating in place of standards-based.”
Mrs. Ordway: “I don’t disagree with that. What I’m telling you is that the process was disingenuous. We had a work session; we didn’t have a study session.”
Mrs. Fisher: “Mrs. Ordway, I will absolutely agree with you. The process was absolutely disingenuous. But not on our part, however.”
Mrs. Ordway: “It was on your part because you two make up the agenda.”
Mrs. Fisher: “What? No.”
Mrs. Ordway: “Yeah, you do.”
Mrs. Fisher: “What occurred was that even though we voted on February… for this exact thing to remove standards-based grading, the District administration decided they, with a committee, that they would go ahead and continue standards-based grading within the schools. And so the conversation was quite clear, and we can bring it again and go through any process you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that this board voted to remove standards-based grading. And if the Administration wishes to continue to put standards-based grading into schools, they need an approval to do so.”
Mrs. Ordway: “And perhaps that could have been part of the preview that we would have voted on at the next meeting. That’s all I’m saying, but keep on going with the meeting.”
Mrs. Fisher: “At the next meeting, I would recommend staying for the whole meeting, and you can make that suggestion.”
Dr. Finch: “Perhaps Miss Dr. Galligan could correct some of the misinformation.”
Dr. Galligan: Dr. Galligan explains that the DVUSD team’s grading practices presented on May 2nd by the team is the District’s best effort at traditional grading, with a zero to 100% scale and A-F. What parents will see are percentages and letter grades across all schools.
If a parent were to choose to click on one icon, they would be able to see the different assessments and assignments, and based on those, they would be able to determine what to help their child with as it relates to standards in math, ELA, science, social studies, and so forth. The State of Arizona gives DSVUSD the task of teaching to the standards. We are assessed by the state assessment with those standards.
If we are saying that our teachers do not need to assess how students are doing with learning and proficiency against the standards, that means teachers, in essence, choose to teach what they want. When looking at traditional grading, it is 0-100% and A-F. Standards-Based Grading does not use percentages nor letter grades. This is not SBG. This is a traditional grading scale. There will be expectations for traditional grading across all grade levels with the added information for parents to be able to talk with their Children and teachers about specific standards that their child may not have done well on.
Parents will see exactly what they’ve always seen in PowerSchool with A-F, 0-100%. There is a vast difference between what was presented to the board and what Standards-Based Grading is. It is not the same.
Mr. Carver: Carver says that he spoke with Galligan after the work session – that a lot of the angst came from less than 24 hours after the presentation. He was getting notifications from educators in the district and parents being told that zeros are not possible – you can put in a zero in PowerSchool but need to go back and correct it to 49% later. They are saying SBG is in full force… He doesn’t dispute what Dr. Galligan presented; it is very similar to what the board asked for – percentages and A-F.
Carver’s concern is that, just like when SBG launched, the communication going out is creating a lot of heartaches. He believes this can be resolved, and 90% of the challenge is the way that the information is being cascaded.
Dr. Galligan: Galligan says that the board asked on May 2nd for that information to be posted on the website and to go out to teachers and administrators. That information did go out on Friday. If you read the information in DVUSD’s grading practices, missing work and late work, an assignment that is not turned in receives an M, which is a zero, then it transfers to a zero at the end of the grading period. Per page nine, the assignment will be marked with a missing special code in the grade book; a zero will be entered as the score for the assignment for grades 3 through 12.
But, because DVUSD teachers are determining both a grade and proficiency, if the work is submitted as late work, the zero assignment score will be changed to reflect the student’s actual score. So if they turn that work in, they will get full credit for showing what they’ve learned or what they have not.
However, if the work is not submitted as late work or does not meet the conditions for late work (there are specific conditions for elementary, middle, and high school), the score for the assignment can be changed from zero up to 49% depending on the individual school’s processes, up to the end of the term. That doesn’t mean a zero will always become 49%. Those processes are determined by the campus leader working with their team, and the district felt it important that what is valued was that 0% to 49% was for no evidence.
It has been laid out very specifically that zeros are entered into the grade book.
Mrs. Fisher: Fisher states that she has had a lot of teachers call her personal cell phone after the correspondence went out, in tears, furious, and yelling at her. Teachers said, “I know that you can tell me the truth.” She says she doesn’t know what went out, but as far as communication, they were told, “This is the situation we’re in. We are going to have to proceed this direction because it’s what administration is doing, and they were very specific that they were requiring a minimum of 49%.”
Fisher says she did ask the questions that she thought she needed to get the answers and did not receive them. She questions how if she can’t get clear answers as a governing board member, teachers can’t get clear answers, how on earth can parents ever understand?
She says, “The public has lost faith and trust, and some of our teachers have as well, that we are being honest with them because they were under the expectation that they didn’t have to worry about standards-based grading. Some of the ones that contacted me said, ‘You know, if they put it back in after our contracts are signed, that’s just cruel.’”
Fisher conveys her frustration with the whole situation that the board has held multiple votes that ended up not being what they thought they were voting on or individuals saying, “Well, that’s not what’s really happening.” She says she doesn’t know how to resolve it at this point other than flat-out saying it’s traditional grading. Pointing out that the state has had standards for 20+ years, she says that teachers have successfully taught the standards using traditional grading.
She finds it hard to wrap her head around, as she has spent years in PLCs, and PLCS were groups coming together – math teachers working through problems and issues, science teachers developing strategies – that’s what PLCS always have been. She finds it difficult to believe that all of a sudden, a PLC is standards-based grading only or that we’re going to traditional grading, but then we’re having the standards underlying.
“At this point, we don’t have a motion to adopt it anyways, so I guess we’re kind of at the same place where what is approved is traditional grading.”
Mrs. Paperman: Says that from her understanding, the Governing Board already voted for traditional grading. Paperman continues, “I trusted the district that the transition was going to be specific and clear, you know, being a teacher myself, when I got all the information on that Friday that the teachers were like all confused, and these are teachers with years of experience telling me this is not traditional grading. How are we supposed to be moving forward positively in Deer Valley?”
She says, “And even with the parents, we had this expectation that traditional grading was going to be clear; what did we do before COVID-19? What grading system did you have in place? Then go back to that. Well, why is it so difficult to go back to what we were doing before? We had A+ schools – we didn’t have all this confusion with our community and the staff. That’s all that I was asking; get it back to where we were so there’s no confusion.”
“Even during agenda review, I let Dr. Finch know that we need to hire our curriculum and instruction to help you. I sent you an email regarding to hire someone to see if we can work together to make this move smoothly. If I would have predicted that this was going to be an issue, maybe we should hire curriculum and instruction to implement traditional grading. Because I feel like we’re still back in square one.”
Dr. Galligan: Assures the board that the only communication that has gone out, that was not either through DV Voice or the website, was during Pre-K – 12 with the Principals. The same presentation on May 2nd was presented to these principals – it was exactly the same. The administrators did have questions, and the District did their best to address them.
Galligan says, “For the last 20 years, our schools have not been doing unified grading. They have been different across schools, across classrooms in our schools; some have used different ways of looking at standards or not using standards – they just put an assignment out, and the standards aren’t necessarily the draw. So what’s been presented to you is a traditional grading scale that does value the work of a standards-based mindset and the PLC teams. The PLC teams come together, and they look for specific questions. We’ve talked to you about those questions.”
She continues, “We’ve talked to you about those questions. What do we want students to know and be able to do? What do we do when we assess that they have not yet got it, or what do we do when we assess that they have? How do we continue to help students in need and help those students that move forward? It all comes down to how do we determine the level of proficiency against standards. Mostly that is essential standards. In each of our content areas, the scale that you have before you is not standards-based grading; it is traditional grading – it is unified for all schools, all grade levels.”
It is traditional grading – it is unified for all schools, all grade levels.Dr. Gayle Galligan, Deputy Superintendent Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, DVUSD
“It simply gives an added piece for our parents, should they choose to see what are the specific standards my child may not be doing well on and that’s why they got a 78%, or what are the standards that my student is showing as far as what they know and are able to do, and that’s why they have a failing grade or why they have a 92%. The percentages and the A through F are the traditional grading scales. We’ve never even had that for over 20 years. So what we presented to you truly is a unified way of looking at grading primary, intermediate middle, and high school.”
“It also values, as I said, our number one job, which is to ensure that we know what children are supposed to learn and we assess the proficiency against that. So that when they take that state assessment, which just closed two weeks ago, that we can rest assured for them and for parents that we have done due diligence in teaching the standards, assessing the standards, and giving a report to not only our parents but the kids themselves on how they are doing in their learning so that we know they are ready to move to the next grade level.“
“This is not standards-based grading. Are standards still a part of what teachers do to assess? They have to be unless as a board you are saying standards are not important to teach or assess. And if that is what this board believes, that standards are not important, across the board, unified, then that opens up… teachers can teach the dinosaur unit, teachers can teach what they want – it’s not necessarily going to be tied to standards – which is how it had been for years and years and years.”
“We did not, we were not disingenuous. That team, and most of them are here, that team came together. They worked on their own time. They did what they felt this board required of them for all teachers in this district, for all parents in this district, but specifically for students. This was not done to push standards-based grading.”
She continues by making the point that what was communicated to the administrators was clear – the team had believed at that point they had operationalized what had been given as a decision with the February 14th vote to return to standards-based grading. The team made up of teachers and administrators, came together, took what the board had asked for, and operationalized it. That information went out because the board asked the District to get it out to as many groups as possible – and that’s what happened.
“I ask that you value the work that that team did on traditional grading, that also provides additional information for parents should they choose to look at it.”
Mrs. Paperman: “Dr. Galligan, you’re saying that this board does not want to teach to the standards. I taught traditional grading in New York City, and 90-100 is an A. I review all the standards here in Arizona as a teacher, and graded – students shall grow throughout time. I think the point that we’re trying to get to is, the way the grading system is, like 1-4, some twos or some fours, is confusing to the parents and confusing to the teachers. So why don’t you go back to the As, Bs, and Cs, then you know, like an A, 90 to 100%, a B… you know, then go back to something where the community can understand.
Dr. Galligan: “President Paperman, what parents will see is anything from 90-100 will be an A – at K1-2, it will be an E, they will see that on PowerSchool. If you looked at any of the May 9th presentations that’s in board docs, starting on slide 20, it gives specifically what does this year’s grade book in a phase three school look like and what does it look like in the ‘23-24 school year? You can see that there will be little to no changes simply because we are maintaining 0-100%, E through N at K1-2, and A through F.
“So you can see here on the left is ‘22-23, on the right is ‘23-24 school year. This is straight from PowerSchool. You can see that there is a percentage given; there is no changes. The letter grades will be ESNU. There are no changes in what a parent sees in PowerSchool. The letter grade remains an A-F; parents will see exactly that.
“Again, there is no changes other than we don’t have plus or minuses. The team felt that was not necessary. You parents will be able to expand to see those proficiency marks, but they don’t have to expand, there’s no confusion there. They will see an A through an F and a percentage. So that’s the difference there.
“When you look at 7th through 8th grade, again, there is no change. It is an A through an F, parents will A-F, and they will see a percentage 0-100%. There is no change. The citizenship marks for 7th and 8th grade remain ESN. You, again, parents, can choose to expand to see those proficiency marks. But they do not have to. They see those same proficiency marks on state test information that they get in August.
“There is no change in those areas for our phase three schools. Percent and letter grades for each assignment are shown.
“They see those same things that the board asked us in 9th-12th grade. They see an A-F, 0-100%, that is traditional grading. There is nothing that is different there. That would be confusing to a parent. What you’ll see here, is, again, parents can choose to expand to see those proficiency marks. They do not have to if they don’t want to. Those have been available to all of our campuses should they choose to use it.
Mrs. Ordway: “So maybe part of the confusion came from, because I thoroughly read, and I guess I should read the wording on the executive summary, it says, on February 14th, blah blah blah blah blah, at the May 2nd governing board work session, administrators presented a proposed grading process to the board… If approved… and it’s called a hybrid. Did you, do you refer to these grading practices as a hybrid?”
Dr. Galligan: “President Paperman, Miss Ordway, the team did not consider it a hybrid. It’s traditional.”
The team did not consider it a hybrid. It’s traditional.– Dr. Gayle Galligan, Deputy Superintendent Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, DVUSD
Mrs. Ordway: “So just real quick… So I think maybe that might have been part of the confusion. Because it says it’s a hybrid when, indeed, it’s not. I mean, you’re using standards because that’s what we do in Arizona, and where we have new grading practices or tighter grading practices that are the same as they were but with fidelity across a district, is that close to what you’re telling me or what I’m looking at?”
Dr. Galligan: “The team believes that what we presented is traditional. I would respectfully ask what part of the 0 to 100%, and A-F is not traditional grading.
“All you saw before was phase three schools. When we look at phase two schools, everything changes. Phase one and phase two schools. Everything changes. It’s not standards-based grading.”
Mr. Carver: “Okay, so, to my fellow members on the board and Dr. Galligan… So the fact of the matter is that the boardroom voted to remove standards-based grading; you can all agree on that. The other fact of the matter is the administration needs a direction to send the Educators so that we know how to grade starting school year next year.
Dr. Galligan: “Unified grading. That’s what we would hope for.”
Mr. Carver: “Yes. And I don’t know, I’m kind of new at all this political stuff, so I’m probably going to hurt myself here, but I believe, and hopefully this doesn’t prove out to make me look foolish – but I feel like the one through fours are a tool for the Educators and for Parents to understand what idea the child doesn’t grasp.
“When I said that your committee met our request, you did. We asked for A-F, 0-100. And as I back that statement up with, I reminded everyone that the community is not going to get it; what it is you’re presenting, what they want to know is that 8 out of 10 is 80%. It’s a B, end of conversation.
“Through conversations that I’ve had with you, I believe that’s still what we’re looking at, but that there’s extra work done behind it to show what are those two questions that the child didn’t master that ended up getting it wrong that caused the 80%.”
Dr. Galligan: “That would be true.
Mr. Carver: “Okay, so I mean, we could chase this dog in circles all night long, but you need directions. The board has voted to remove standards-based grading, so at the end of the day, if I were to break this down as simply as I could, standards-based grading doesn’t exist in Deer Valley Unified School District moving forward, and if it does, that’s a policy issue that needs to be addressed with either the educator that doesn’t understand which direction we’re going, or the administrator that’s giving the bad direction.
Standards-based grading doesn’t exist in Deer Valley Unified School District moving forward.– Paul Carver, DVUSD Board Member
“And at this point, we need to give you and your team an idea of what it is that you can do. I believe what you brought meets our request. I will be honest with everybody when I made the request for a work or study session since I was still getting to new as to what the difference between the two. I, in all honesty, expected us to meet well before May 2nd so that we can have a back-and-forth exchange of ideas of what the community thought it should look like versus what the administration brought forward or if they were both on the same page right out of the gate. Great. That didn’t happen. And I wasn’t in a position to make that happen, so education for the future, I supposed, on my part.
“And now we’re in a position where we don’t have the freedom of back-and-forth exchange because, in all honesty, we’re running out of time. Ya’ll need to know what it is that’s expected of you moving forward. So if we just look at this, from a fact-based point of view of the things that have happened – standards-based grading doesn’t exist anymore.
“The community didn’t want it. It was removed. The administration was asked to show us what 0 through 100, and A-F looks like going back, as we’d gone down the SBG path a certain distance. You brought that to us. As long as we all agree on the facts, I could agree that this is a good way to move forward.”
Mrs. Ordway: “So, Mr. Carver, do you want to make a motion?”
Mrs. Paperman: “Mrs. Fisher, you have something to say?”
Mrs. Fisher: “Actually, I do have one comment I’d love to make. You’ve asked us to respect the committee. I’m going to ask you the same thing. Respect all the teachers in this District. We keep talking about the parents; we keep talking about community. The majority of who contacted me was neither; it was teachers.
“It was teachers saying, ‘I can’t survive this. I cannot continue to teach under this. Are you aware of that this a hand-select committee that was the original committee. Are you aware many many of us who submitted are not included, we’re not included, we’re excluded?’ So I’m asking you to do the same.
“How many people are on the committee?”
Dr. Galligan: “There were 26 members, and, hold on one second… We wanted to keep it balanced between regions, balanced between grade levels, a balance between schools…”
Mrs. Fisher interrupts: “… a number, 26?”
Dr. Galligan: “26 teachers and campus admin. Hold on, I’ll get you the total…
Mrs. Fisher interrupts: “At the end of the day, it is the teachers who are going to have to do this. So I’m asking to not only respect 26 teachers but the other two thousand that work for us. Because if we have voted to do traditional grading, that vote is done.
“If when this hits the campus, it is not traditional grading, we’re going to be in the same boat next year. All hell will break loose, and not the 26 teachers… They will be happy. But the ones who see this as standards-based grading and say that it is an excessive workload, that is a problem, it is a confusion, that it’s hurting their kids… these are the statements that come to us. So that’s going to be the next tear in the fabric of the district.
“So if you believe this truly is traditional grading and submit this to the classes, then you’ve honored the vote, and the teachers will be the ones to determine at the end of the day. But come August 15th, when they’re screaming at the top, saying, we are buried in standards-based grading once again… Then we’re going to end up back here.”
Dr. Galligan: “I appreciate your comment, and yes, we will continue to assess and reassess. Our teachers are one of our most valuable groups, as we heard earlier. We want to ensure that they have the supports that they need and that they are also moving forward with that standards-based mindset so that we can support children. So that we have rigorous and high-level learning in our schools across every classroom. Thank you for reminding me of that.”
Mrs. Paperman: She thanks Dr. Galligan and clarifies to the community, parents, and teachers that this is traditional grading, and feedback will be listened to. Paperman says that they will once the system is in place if the Board needs to go back to the drawing board. But she wants to announce this is the traditional grading according to Dr. Galligan.
Dr. Finch: “You mentioned earlier, Mrs. Paperman, that I had talked to you about the process, and I just want to be clear with the process again to the people that are watching and people that may be interested. When you make a motion to do X, Y, or Z, and the board votes to the positive that we need to do this, and what happened in this case, she said traditional grading, and of course, right away, everyone said, well, what is that? What’s the definition there? If you Googled traditional grading, I’m sure you’ll get 20 different theorems and definitions on it. So what happened was you gave specific directions. Three, I believe – Dr. Galligan mentioned that this is what we want to see.
“So we had the work session. Actually, the team went and rolled up their sleeves and did those three things. They gave a presentation at the work session, and board members said, that’s exactly what we asked for. We looked to fix these three things. And it was really based on the principle of communication o a parent can understand, can I, should I, when should I, or should I not help Johnny get caught up or extend his learning? So that’s the whole premise behind it. It’s a communication tool to the parent to make sure that they know when to help.. so they did what you wanted.
“So the way, as I was explaining the way, if you want to remove it, this recommendation or this practice, you would have to make a motion. You have to get the board members to agree to put it on the agenda to remove the grading practices system – it is in a positive manner, and you have to remove it. If the board gave directions and they completed it, and as board members stated, they do exactly what you wanted.
“So I also agree that we will continue to refine. We will continue to work on it. Communication is key, as Mr. Carver suggested. And we will know as we run it next year, as the parents view it and see the percentage, then it makes a lot more sense. So they are… I think part of the confusion was the complexity of the grading practices manual because that’s how our system is… Highly technical, and everyone wants to know what’s going on right away.
“But we have yet to see the system work. It will accomplish those three things that you requested, and we can always come back next year if it’s not, if we are not communicating effectively on how Johnny or Susie is doing and I think the good news is, it will be effective. I’m counting on it, and it will complete what we are trying to do – communicate with the parent on your student.
Mrs. Paperman: “Dr. Finch, I would just like to say in the future, when we’re having, for example, you know, the transitional presentation, I will request that please do not send to principles, oh this is going to be put in place, without the governing board approving it, thank you.”
Mrs. Fisher: “And I just, I have one more comment. I just want to be clear. This board made one request – to return to traditional grading. All the rest was in the multiple confusions of the prior board. The one-grade, meaningful grade that 0 was Mrs. O’Brien. The this or that was… these were historical when an attempted direction was given, an attempted removal was done. Those are from those kinds of confusion boards…
Dr. Finch interrupts: “I would disagree.”
Mrs. Fisher: “Oh, we can go back and listen.”
Dr. Finch: “At the February 14th meeting, you gave three directions, and that’s where they came from.“
Mrs. Fisher: “This board made one motion.”
Dr. Finch: “Correct. But you told us those are the three things. We can replay the tape.”
Mrs. Fisher: “I would never say I want one meaningful grade a week because there are, there is a class that one meaningful grade a month would make sense. There are other classes where 30 meaningful grades count. That’s like me, again, and I use the example that’s like me expecting my senior accountants to do one meaningful data journal entry a week. I’d be fired right after them if that were the case. So that’s not a request I would have ever made that came from prior boards. So I just want to be clear this board requested a return to traditional grading.
Dr. Finch: “So, Mr. Carver, when he stated these are the three things that you asked us to fix, he was not telling the truth? Is that what you’re suggesting?”
Mrs. Fisher: “ I am suggesting that you say the same and same statement so many times and drive the bus on Mr. Carver’s chest. That is where the disingenuous comes from. The division of the information that’s fed to various board members or stated or brought forward or putting a Friday update, and something that we can’t even actually respond to. I’m saying that is the problem. There is too much division, but this board had one motion, and that was to return to traditional grading.
Dr. Finch: “And they accomplished it.”
Mr. Carver: “Just for clarity, whether it’s proper or not, it seems like we need to do this in order to move on. So I’d like to make a motion that the board accepts the transition plan that was provided by Dr. Galligan, and we’ll go from there.”
Mrs. Paperman: “I have a second?”
Mrs. Ordway: “I’ll second that.”
Mrs. Fisher: “I will vote no because I still believe that the teachers that contacted me were not lying and that this is standards-based grading in hidden format.
The motion to accept the transition plan presented by Dr. Galligan is approved, 4:1 – Mrs. Fisher votes nay.
7B. Approve Employee Professional Development (Out of State)
The motion passes 3:2; Fisher and Carver vote nay with no explanation.
7C. Approve Addenda Pre-Approvals
The motion passes unanimously.
7D. Award a Job Order Contract (JOC) with Skyline Builders & Restoration, Inc. for the addition of restrooms at Paseo Hills and Desert Sage Elementary Schools, and the restroom renovation at Sunrise Elementary School for the Head Start preschool programs
The motion passes unanimously.
7E. Adopt the Fiscal Year 2022-23 Expenditure Budget Revision #2
The motion passes unanimously.
7F. Approve the Revision of the FY22 Annual Financial Report
It’s clarified that the annual report is not typically revised, but this was to fix a clerical error in how the District classified some of the special education funding.
The motion passes 4:1; Fisher abstains with no explanation.
7G. To consider, discuss, amend if desired, and, if deemed advisable, to adopt a resolution ordering and calling a Special Budget Override Election to be held in and for the district and declaring the deadline for submitting arguments “For” and “Against” the election to the Maricopa County School Superintendent, School Elections Office as August 11, 2023 at 5:00 P.M.
This motion is to approve the $325M bond as discussed in the Bond and Override update.
There is one speaker in support of this action item.
Mrs. Fisher: “Okay, so this is specific to the bond, not to the override. Since that is the item before us.
“What concerns me about this is it’s clear that we are not ready to even ask for a bond. We don’t know what schools we may or may not build. We do have schools that are extremely under-enrolled, we do not have a clear plan with our what buses that are needed or what is needed or where it’s needed. And it looks to me, and I’ve been through several bonds and overrides, I’ve actually set them up ran them and done the sale, so I am familiar.
“And one time I was at a meeting, and someone said, we bond to avoid the… rip the Band-Aid off for our tax base. So if we continue to always have a bond and always have an override, that means we’re always putting that excess debt. And so while we can show that we’re reducing the debt a little, because we’re defusing the bonds, or because we are making additional payments or an aggressive payment schedule, it doesn’t change the fact that if we didn’t have that bond or override.. overrides a little different will hit that later… The bond, if we didn’t have that bond, that tax would be zero.
“And zero, you know, a $.10, whatever… on… when you start putting… it’s on the valuation. And I get you said that it was a five percent allowed-for the increase, but a new build is already at half a million dollars these days. So I just don’t, I don’t understand, and if you can help me to understand, Mr. Migliorino, why we’re seeking a bond right now, and we’re not really even sure what that bond is for. Now, the override is different, but the bond itself. We have not, you know, in past when we voted to put a bond on I was happy to do so because we had, we had looked at the schools, we had looked at the enrollment, we had, you know, we had schools that were under-enrolled when we could see the movement. We’re not, seeing that now, we’re not, you know, we’re elected to make a significant decision for our community, the taxpayer, and I just don’t see the information there. So, did I miss a whole lot of information that was provided or was it just a committee recommendation?”
Mr. Migliorino: “So there was a great deal more information that the committee looked at that we did not provide to the governing board, but we have posted it. It is available on our website and we made that link available to the board as well. Including the demographer’s report that shows what the growth pattern looks like. I will say that there are identified projects in the spreadsheet of detailed information, almost too difficult to read in the presentation that we provided again this evening, but we have shared with that shared that with you previously, and the committee developed, that only 120 million of the 325 million dollars is new school construction.
“The rest of it is ongoing needs for the district. So the new school aspect of it is in future years so the elementary school is not until three years out, and the high school is in the fifth year of this. And again, that is based on the current projections that we have. So we have a detailed list of projects, including replacement schedules for buses and for our white fleet, technology, and refurbishing to maintain the one-to-one initiative. So there are identified needs that are being met with the 325 million dollars; it’s not bonding for the sake of bonding.”
There are identified needs that are being met with the $325M; It’s not bonding for the sake of bonding.– Jim Migliorino, Deputy Superintendent – Fiscal and Business Services, DVUSD
Mrs. Paperman: “Well, my question is similar to Mrs. Fisher’s. There’s, you know, looking at that list that our district things that need to be taken care of. I think that should be the top priority. Yes, you know, if our population growth, obviously, you know, we do build other schools, but for now, we need to look, you know, look at the campuses, you know, that they need to be maintained. Sports fields or buses, you know, buses that need to be replaced. I think those items should be prioritized before anything.
“Also, I think the governing board we should know, like, the population of students in each school to make sure that we don’t have, like, low number of students in one school; running a school costs money. So I just want to make sure that this bond is going to go for those things that is going to improve our district.”
Mrs. Ordway: “Mr. Migliorino, could you clarify your guiding principles when we look for large amounts of money that the state has not, and apparently will not provide, whether it be for a bond or an M&O override? What are the guiding principles when we ask our taxpayers, those with children in our school district, those that don’t have children anymore in our school district, maybe those that never had children in the school district… How do we go without knowing but we are going to go out and ask these people to invest extra in our students.”
Mr. Migliorino: “I don’t know that we’ve adopted guiding principles, but I can tell you historically, what we have done is we compile parent input along with District provided information of what the needs are. So we do a needs assessment from that needs assessment, we developed a list of prioritized projects and then we try and align what available resources that we have. I think it would be undisputed that the state funding formula, the basic state funding formula from the state of Arizona, is not enough to maintain the district in the manner that we have operated because these things have been in place for decades… because the funding formula in the state is inadequate. I think it’s intentionally designed to be able to allow for districts like Deer Valley to differentiate itself by allowing the public to determine if they want to invest more than what the state provides.
“But from the needs assessment, I can tell you that we cannot operate the district without the M&O, in the same manner that we have operated for decades, without the MMO override in place and without some additional capital funding. It doesn’t have to be a bond it and you can certainly debate the value of the bond. But there is not enough capital funding in the state funding formula to be able to operate our district in the manner that we have.”
Mrs. Ordway: “And just a little bit further. So, the money that we receive from the state is lesser than our comparable peer districts, I don’t remember which word we’re using, and so we’re already making up a deficit. Correct?”
Mr. Migliorino: “That is correct.”
Mrs. Ordway: “And then on top of that, we do provide a crazy thing called full-day kindergarten at, I guess, no cost to parents but cost to taxpayers, correct?”
Mr. Migliorino: “That is correct.”
Mrs. Ordway: “So when you say that we’ve had this in place for years and we want things to, you know, be at the level we are, it’s not like we’re in the Taj Mahal. We make do with what we get, and we make it stretch. So I believe that what we’re asking for is merely to keep up what we have. And we’re very frugal. And, just saying, it’s not like you’re asking to have a Cadillac when we act like a Cadillac, but we’re really in a Pinto or whatever cars these days.”
Mr. Migliorino: “I would not disagree with you, but I also am going to have a bias. I will admit that.”
Mrs. Fisher. “Can I just get a clarification? I wasn’t aware bonds can pay for all-day K or Kinder.”
Mrs. Ordway: I didn’t say that. I said both I said talking about the M&O override and the bond, I did not say that you paid for full-day Pre-K.”
Mrs. Fisher: “We’re still on the bond, and it can’t pay for those things, correct?”
Mr. Migliorino: “That is correct..”
Dr. Finch: “This is an exciting time in Deer Valley. The word that has not been mentioned yet is TSMC. They are the world’s largest chip provider – they are four times bigger than Intel. So if you want to know what’s going to happen to Deer Valley, just drive down the street and park yourself in Chandler and Gilbert – that impact is coming here. What we are in charge of is trying to stay ahead of that growth. So, we intentionally split it into parts to make sure that we can offer a levy and stay in front. We are not like a business, which can, tomorrow, go raise funds and build tomorrow. We actually have to be years ahead because of the process it takes to move a bond through the system. So again, you’re not approving the bond – what you’re doing is approving the opportunity for the voters to make a choice.”
You’re not approving the bond – what you’re doing is approving the opportunity for the voters to make a choice.– Dr. Curtis Finch, Superintendent, DVUSD
The motion passes 4:1; Fisher votes nay.
7H. To consider, discuss, amend if desired, and, if deemed advisable, to adopt a resolution ordering and calling a Special Budget Override Election to be held in and for the district and declaring the deadline for submitting arguments “For” and “Against” the election to the Maricopa County School Superintendent, School Elections Office as August 11, 2023 at 5:00 P.M.
This is an item to continue the existing 15% M&O override, as has been discussed at length.
Mrs. Fisher: “I want to just clarify my vote. I am voting, aye, only because, at this time, I recognize that a cut to our staff would be extremely difficult and detrimental. However, I do hope that we take a look at the extremely top-heavy administration and consider making adjustments so that we’re not in the situation again in the future.
Dr. Finch: “Do you have any data to support that?”
Mrs. Fisher: “I will vote aye at this time. Absolutely, I do.”
Dr. Finch: “I’d love to see that.”
The motion passes unanimously.
8A. Preview Certified & Classified Negotiated Tentative Agreements for 2023-2024 #72 Pending Ratification by the Employee Associations
9A. Governing Board Reports
Mrs. Ordway: “So let’s see. We’ve had so many things that show that our students are inquisitive, problem solvers, risk-takers… I mean, they are awesome. So I was at the Barry Goldwater Senior Institute, and what that does is they have a year-long project – all the seniors partake in, where they choose something that they have an interest in, and they do a thesis and then present and who they present to is a, there are adults there, but mainly it’s the Juniors that are going to take this project on. So they have so many great presentations, there’s three that come up, or that that show up at the top, and I am proud to say that I think this is my 13th year that I’ve been able to be wowed by these young students and the remarkable changes that they are making on their campus and throughout the district is amazing.
“We had another Barry Goldwater student…. Brandon Salisbury, I’ve known the kid since before he was the Eagle Scout, and he won, or earned, I will say earned, the Bezos award, which gives him… I think it’s like… I’m going to get the numbers wrong… Because, again, I’m tired. It’s like 25,000 dollars over the next couple of or the next year for him to implement what his project was – was mental health throughout the district. He goes… just an amazing thing. But anyways, so that’s, you know, one of four hundred things we saw so many things tonight.
“So our students are learning how to be independent and how to be thoughtful humans. So blah, blah, blah. And we discussed a lot of what I was going to say during it, but I have had conversations with employees, parents, guardians, and business owners, who are all looking forward to the culmination of this school year, knowing that there have been adversities to overcome, but there have also been some, some bright lights. They’re also looking forward to the to the way that we are going to continuously improve on our best practices.
“I was going to, I was going to read you something, but I’m just going to talk about. I am hoping that our governing board members can remember social media is an interesting place for you to live when you base what you’re writing in fact. When you do not put things down that are factual, it hurts our district… words… Half-truths are full lies. And it is not always what one says, it’s what they don’t say. In this case, what I’m referring to is the truth. So I would hope that we can all go back and look at our board ethics. And remember what we talked about posting garbage and untruths on social media.”
Remember what we talked about, posting garbage and untruths on social media.– Ann Ordway, DVUSD Board Member
Mrs. Simacek: “Pretty brief here; over the last couple of weeks, I was able to attend the Barry Goldwater. Dance performance, their show was titled game night. So dances were choreographed to different game titles and songs that were really creative. I was also able to volunteer at Union Park over the last couple of days to help administer the end-of-year dibbles. I’ve been doing this for several years now, but as a board, I did it as a volunteer at this time. It’s just really exciting because I get to know the kids, and you see where they come in at the beginning of the year and as they grow in the middle, and the end is always the best because you could, you just, you see so much growth. And whether that’s, you know, just knocking it off the charts or just looking at their own individual growth and what they as an individual child are able to accomplish in one year of study with their amazing DVUSD teachers. So I just love it. Hope I can continue to do that.
“Last night was pretty busy for us at DVUSD; we had a lot going on. Athletic Banquets across our K through eight schools, Boulder Creek High School and Barry Goldwater, held their awards ceremonies honoring the academic excellence of our Seniors. So I had the opportunity to attend the event at Goldwater. I also enjoyed the recognition of our underclassmen and their academic excellence as well. Goldwater does an academic letter program, which is pretty cool. So, that means, historically, I think we all think of, like, getting your letter through Athletics, but they have an academic route to take as well.
“I did want to just real quickly talk about my concerns and just really to simply acknowledge the results of the survey specifically the questions regarding the board. We did show a significant decline in the confidence in our board, including making informed decisions, not just making decisions. When I read that, I think of hearing and just voting on it right away without having a discussion or maybe pushing it on to another day as another agenda item. So that’s concerning. But, and also just being in tune with the needs of the community, I’m hearing that we’re not… As a new board member, I just want our community to know that I’ll take this information very seriously, and I do. And that’s why I’m addressing it tonight. And I’ll do my very best to continue to listen and to work with our community on their concerns. So what I’m asking of our community is to please keep, please keep your emails coming with your concerns because they are read.
I’ll do my very best to continue to listen and to work with our community on their concerns.– Stephanie Simacek, DVUSD Board Member
“And then, finally, I just want to congratulate all of our DVUSD seniors. We’re looking forward to celebrating with you next week, graduate at State Farm Stadium. And also a big congratulations to our eighth graders as they promote… they are promoted to high school next Wednesday. So, we, they, and our community has very much to celebrate. Thank you.”
Mr. Carver: “Just real quick… some follow-up, Ms. Moffat, I’d reached out after the documentation you provided us from legal counsel about our resignation versus termination process. I know you’ve got a few other things on your plate, but I just wanted to remind Jim I’m still looking for that info for classified. Thank you.
“And Dr. Z, I know that we’re trying to find somebody to be in charge of safety, but If we could get that document that I’m looking for is to, what our lockdown process is that we can make available to the public. I know that the school year is about over, and that’s probably a good reason to put it off and wait until we get somebody hired. But there’s folks in the community that have been looking for that response from me, for, ever since the Boulder Creek incident. So if you could find time in your schedule to put something together for me, I’d appreciate it so I can check that off my list.
“May 4th, I attended the city of Peoria’s first and first annual National Day of Prayer. Mayor Beck was there. He’s been working with me and now with Dr. Z to try to make sure that we have SROS for Peoria schools. So, I wanted to show my support for him and his proclamation of the National Day of Prayer.
“Also, on the 4th, we had the DVUSD retirement event here in this room. It was an awesome evening for me because, most of you know, I graduated from this district and high school back in the 80s, and Coach Allen was here with his sweet wife. Coach Allen has already retired, but it was his wife’s turn, and there was a bonus. There was a neighborhood friend of mine in the room. Her name is Donna. She retired from the school district as a teacher. So it’s amazing the relationships in the community that we have here in Deer Valley, and it was a beautiful evening.
“May 8th, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Goldwater Senior Awards night with these two ladies here off to my right. The children, the caliber of children that we have in this District, really is unparalleled. They’ve got everything to be proud of and the folks that helped them every day to get that accomplished. You should be commended for your efforts.
“I just want to say that, you know, there’s a lot of difficult things that we discuss as Administration and as the board, and we all try to do, try to do the best that we can to be informed about the decisions that we make. Whenever going to make everybody happy, but hopefully, people can at least see the effort that we put in, in trying to make sure that we bridge the communication and education gaps so that everybody can be as informed as possible. It’s not, it’s not conducive to a working relationship to pound your fist and go scorched earth, and I know probably a few folks that voted for me would wish that I would do that. But that’s just not me. I think that we can all get a lot farther down this road that we’re all on together if we try to figure out what the common goal is and work that direction.
it’s not conducive to a working relationship to pound your fist and go scorched earth.– Paul Carver, DVUSD Board Member
“I know that the information presented concerning traditional grading had a lot of hints of what used to be SBG in it, and that frustrates a lot of the community – I can appreciate that. I don’t disparage your concern. But as I said, the fact is that the board voted to remove SBG. The fact is we need a plan of something to move forward with. We didn’t execute that the way that I had hoped that we would have as a board with back-and-forth communication. So we are where we are now. It is upon the administration and upon the board to hold people accountable to the policy that we’ve set forth. If, if we don’t, then we’re no better than a lot of the issues that plague our society today. We’ve got enough laws to fill books and books and books. But if we don’t enforce them, then they’re no good. So I would just encourage everybody to participate in their child’s education. If you see something, say something; you know what the board voted on, and we just need to move forward and do the best that we can and identify issues as they arise. Thank you.”
Mrs. Fisher: “Yeah, it’s been an interesting while. I’m not sure if I missed this or if it was after the last board meeting because I didn’t write down dates, but I really had a blast of inspiration Mountain for their Dr. Seussical Junior. It was a blast. The kids were adorable. They did a great job, and it was just beyond impressive.
“As always, I enjoy the Retirement event, not because anyone’s leaving us, that’s kind of a sad part, but some individuals who spend a lifetime in education truly have beautiful accomplishments. Not because they say it, but because we can see it. Some say it, some say it. And that’s where you see it.
“My favorite event, one of my favorite events of the year, aside from graduations, is Pursuing Victory with Honor, and I was beyond happy to see my favorite coaches, the keynote speaker also my son’s favorite coach, and all that he does with our, not only our actual teams but with the special needs kids and how he honors them. It is so rare that they are honored, but he has always done that as long as I’ve known him. So Coach Dunn, just kudos to you and what a beautiful family and heart that man has, and you see it. He doesn’t just say it, it exudes from him what an honorable man he is.
“I want to… a couple of items I want to also add – to review the public comments policy. I just think it’s horrible we would just shut the mic off on people, and it’s just, it is just used to be a difficult policy, now it’s just nasty towards the public. So I would like to have that considered. I would like to review all new positions that have been added, not and/or increased, within the district office and the district as a whole.
I just think it’s horrible we would just shut the mic off on people.– Kimberly Fisher, VP, DVUSD Governing Board
“I want to be, I’m no…, well… I want to just kind of awful quote Mrs. Ordway had said; I do want to also remind board members that when they make statements that are false here on the dais or when they share false gossip in the community, it is equally damaging, if not more damaging than anything on social media. And orchestrated… is just is it’s just horrendous. It just is. I remain concerned because what we did the… latest vote of the board to be clear is that we, well not we, that the board as a whole or as a majority of the board voted on what was presented Tuesday night. So if it does have standards-based grading, it is board approved at this point, and…
“I do agree with Mr. Carver, though; going scorched earth isn’t going to be helpful. It just isn’t. I hold to my ask that we respect all of our teachers, not just the community, and that, hopefully, this can be worked out. Hopefully, we’re not in the situation next year, but you know… who knows.
“Alternatively, and this is the scorched earth part… taking a playbook from a Peoria board member who, who truly just really loves the kids and cares for them. At the end of the day, the district is not as important as your child. So if it becomes not a good place, find the options. We have to keep public education, we have to have public education because we don’t have kids who all have parents, but for those of you who do, if it gets too much or your values are completely compromised. Find your options because your kids are number one. That’s it.”
Mrs. Paperman: “I would like to say Happy Teacher Appreciation Week; I hope I didn’t miss it. Our teachers deserve the best. I’ve been in the classroom 21 years; I know the hard work that you do.
“I also would like to congratulate students at Inspiration Mountain. They did a fantastic job with the play. Barry Goldwater High School, the students also did a fantastic job. I felt like I was in a Broadway show. So it was an amazing, amazing play. Also, congratulate Mountain Ridge High School students award, it was amazing. The scholarship that students come from all the hard work that they did throughout the high school years.
“I also would like to say that, I know I sent an email to the association; I’m looking to see, I don’t know if in this district, I know in my district we did… survey by the end of the year. So it will be fantastic if we get to see, you know, where do the staff stand, where the teachers stand – one of the questions I used to add when I was in the committee doing the survey – why would we want… why do you want to stay in our district or why did you leave our district? At least we collected that data because we work with the Administration to improve our school for a place teachers, you know, want to be happy and work. So I will request it again, and I parents if you parents, community, I know you have contacted me to so if you would like to create a survey to see where you stand I’ll take that into consideration. So have a nice weekend. And Happy Teacher Appreciation, again. Oh, and Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms.”
9B. Superintendent Report
Dr. Finch: “ I’m scratching off all the different things that everybody has mentioned. There’s a couple here we’ve missed… tomorrow is national school nurse appreciation day. We have about 40 in our system, and Jackie is the lead nurse for us, does a great job. We have also six contract nurses. Most school districts that I’ve ever been involved with do not have this level of Nurse service available, so we are spoiled here in Deer Valley. We have a small army of nurses that help our students every day. And it’s a, it is a luxury, and it’s we want to honor them tomorrow. So make sure you give a fist bump to your nurse tomorrow for us.
“We have Communications Professionals Day on Friday. So that would be our Communications Department, send them an email to them, tell them thanks, and keep up the good work. I did, I mentioned I was gonna have a podcast with an O’Connor student, CJ – that did come together and talked about my job and what we do and that kind of stuff. So I’m sure it’s trending right now. I want to make sure you catch it.
“We did have a big health fair on, think HR for organizing that and payroll work together, it was on 28. I think it was the Friday where they came here and that’s more information. Then we had a fun run on Saturday, which was really cool. I believe you might have touched 200 folks in the machine, so… and I think Dr. Zehrbach may have won a medal; I think he’s the only person in his division, so we actually had to give it to him. So it was, it was not very eventful, but he will show you his medal if you want to see it.
“I also, too, enjoyed the… oh yeah, he probably has it on. Yeah. Yeah. I think sleeps with that, I believe. Yeah… Retirement event, and what’s neat for me… As I go and talk to all the folks as they come in or snake up to their table… nine out of ten, every time, I always bug them. Are you going to come back and help us out? Nine out of ten said yes. The only time they don’t say yes, grandbabies is one of them, and the other one is I’m moving. I’m not going to be in the neighborhood. So, in fact, one gentleman he said he was retiring from a bus driver, and I said, well, you can come; he said… he was an older gentleman… said, I’m not as good as I used to be, I guess would be his word, and so I said, well you can come back and be a Parapro, and he’s like really? I said yeah. So I think he’s coming back to so it’s great to see them coming back into the machine. As everyone said, we have great people, and when great people come back and help us out, you know, it’s a major plus to our system.
“We had, Sierra Verde had, their A+ celebration on May 2nd. One of our four we heard about the other three before… The playoffs are still going. OC Baseball is alive. They beat Ridge today two to one so they’ll move on to the semi-finals. Deer Valley volleyball won tonight as well. They’ll be in the state finals, or semis on Thursday, a chance to see that. I think those are moving down to the big gym and state, or is it local… they still ranked? Do you know? Deer Valley will host. Oh good, volleyball goes one more lap before they move down to the neutral site. So, Thursday night, I’m assuming 6 p.m. all have been about 6 p.m. so far, so if you want to see that, come watch Deer Valley High School’s men’s team march to the state championship.
A little FYI, the art, make sure you, on your way out, take a peek at the art that’s in the lobby. The superintendent’s art award had, art awards have arrived, and they’re out there. They’re pretty cool. They’re all framed and looking sharp. So I know you saw them on the screen, but now you get to see them live. They look pretty cool. And obviously, last but not least, graduation is coming. That’s pretty exciting. It’s that time of the year. It’s the; it’s the culmination of 13 years of work. And we get to hand our diplomas out to our kids, and we are excited for their next adventure. So looking forward to that celebration at State Farm. Thank you.
The meeting adjourned at 10:53.