Higley USD in black on special education student outplacement

Higley USD, Higley USD governing board
The Higley USD governing board studied the costs of its special education outplacement program. (Courtesy Higley USD)

The Higley USD governing board studied the costs of its special education outplacement program. (Courtesy Higley USD)

Despite high costs to pay private day schools to educate some Higley USD special education students, the district comes out slightly in the black when balanced against funding from the state, district officials said.

Higley USD Special Education Director Shauna Miller showed the figures to the governing board at a work-study session Jan. 29 after a brief board meeting. Those figures showed the district pays 10 schools $2.37 million to educate the students.

Districts must by law provide a free and adequate education to the students. However, Miller said in an email a small group of special education students' needs require a more restrictive environment, with more specialized services, that can be better met by specialized Private Day Schools. Districts must continually work within their budget and state and federal allocations to ensure these necessary services can be provided within the districts' given allocations.

Because of the high costs of educating these students, however, the state uses a multiplier in the funding formula to accommodate districts’ extra costs.

With all revenue sources considered the district comes out $18,355.30 ahead, according to Miller’s presentation to the board.


“We don’t do this to make money,” board member Scott Glover said. “It’s about doing what’s right for the kids.”

Restorative justice

Student Services Director Jennifer Corry also presented to the board information on restorative justice programs, which address repeat behavioral issues by directing conversations for offending students to see how their behavior affects others.

Data showed that schools that have adopted such programs have seen less referrals and suspensions, less disparity in suspensions by race and higher graduation rates, Corry said.

However, Superintendent Mike Thomason said data shows HUSD has no great disparity in suspension by race and that the district’s graduation rate is 96%. He said any adaption of such a program requires fidelity to the program and consistency in applying it for the program to succeed.

Other items

  • Human Resources Executive Director Mum Martens updated an earlier presentation to the board about administrative and educational salaries, which the district hopes to push to the 45th to 50th percentile when compared with peer districts. A multidistrict salary study showed Higley to be in the 30th to 35th percentile at present. Martens said her team expects to have a salary schedule to present to the board in February.

  • A field trip for Sossaman Middle School’s advanced fine arts students to attend a Disney Workshops event in Anaheim, California, specific to their class won approval 5-0. The board rejected the trip 3-2 Jan. 15 over concerns about how many chaperones were on the trip and what that might mean for the district’s liability. The trip remained as proposed for its second appearance before the board with Thomason, who had approved the trip, assuring the board that the district would bear no additional costs for the extra chaperones.

By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.



MOST RECENT

(Source: Town of Gilbert/Community Impact Newspaper)
Transportation bond heads to Gilbert voters

Gilbert voters will receive their fall ballots in the mail shortly after Oct. 6, which will include a question of whether the town should be allowed to issue bonds for streets, transportation and infrastructure projects.

Federal health officials are recommending Arizonans age 65 and older, residents of long-term care facilities and those ages 50-64 with underlying medical conditions get a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine if they are at least six months past their second shot, according to a news release from the Arizona Department of Health Services. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Booster vaccine doses recommended for 65 and older, certain others

Federal officials are recommending that Arizonans age 65 and older, residents of long-term care facilities and those ages 50-64 with underlying medical conditions get a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine if they are at least six months past their second shot.

The Strand @ Gilbert could soon undergo a name change but will not open until 2024. (Courtesy town of Gilbert)
Proposed Gilbert water park changes operator; Chandler businesses struggle to find workers and more top area news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Gilbert and Chandler areas.

North Italia, Flower Child
Pair of Fox Concepts restaurants opening in September

The two Fox Concepts restaurants sharing building space at Williams Field and Santan Village Parkway are opening this month, one having done so and the other coming before month’s end.

Central Arizona Project canal
Gilbert safe from initial drought restrictions

When Gilbert residents turn their taps on in 2022, water will reliably flow from them.

Dawn Foley, Tyler Moore, Shauna Miller
Higley USD board approves instructional time models for virtual learning

Higley USD’s governing board conducted its second required public hearing and approved the district’s instructional time model to meet new state requirements for average daily membership, a key figure in the state’s education funding formulas.

Now open
Two places now selling tea in Gilbert

Here are two places that sell tea and opened recently in Gilbert.

Amy Temes
Updates to Gilbert’s land development code gain approval from council

The approval marked the end of a nearly three-year effort from the town’s planning department to update the code and make it more user-friendly for citizens.

Ocotillo Road
Gilbert Town Council approves agreement with ADOT to help fund Ocotillo Bridge project

Council unanimously approved the agreement despite objections from Council Member Laurin Hendrix about how the funding fits in with the town’s $515 million bond question on the November mail-in ballot

The Strand @ Gilbert rendering
Proposed water park at Gilbert Regional Park has change in operator

The Strand @ Gilbert has undergone an ownership change and may soon come under a name change as well.

Twisted Sugar bakes some specialty cookies. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
Twisted Sugar cookie shop locations to open in Gilbert; Chandler farmers market to return Oct. 2 and more area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Chandler and Gilbert areas.

Twisted Sugar cookies
One Twisted Sugar location closed, but two more on the way

Twisted Sugar plans two more Gilbert stores as part of a 10-store expansion in the state