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

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


Platinum Living Realty opens Gilbert office

Platinum Living Realty, an independent luxury real estate brokerage firm, opened an office Jan. 1 in Gilbert

Disabled residents object to Gilbert's proposed paratransit service changes

Community members with disabilities and their family members said a proposal for Gilbert to shrink its paratransit offerings will greatly increase their transportation costs and shrink their world.

Gilbert Town Council, Jenn Daniels, Eddie Cook, Jared Taylor, Brigette Peterson, Scott Anderson, Aimee Yentes, Jordan Ray
Voters will decide who Eddie Cook’s long-term replacement on Gilbert Town Council will be

Gilbert Town Council accepted Eddie Cook’s resignation Feb. 18 and mapped out how the council member’s seat will be filled

Clean Juice at SanTan Village has new ownership

Clean Juice celebrated new ownership at its lone Arizona location Jan. 10 in the SanTan Village mall

Brown Chiropractic & Acupuncture expands to include naturopathy

Brown Chiropractic & Acupuncture added naturopathic services in January to its office in Gilbert

Vintage Home coming to Gilbert's Epicenter

Vintage Home will open in the Agritopia development when Epicenter opens in 2021

Val Vista Drive
Crews will remain busy with road construction along Val Vista Drive

Gilbert has three capital improvement projects planned for Val Vista Drive this year and another that comes up to it as well as private development work

Eddie Cook
Gilbert Town Council Member Eddie Cook appointed county assessor

Gilbert Town Council Member Eddie Cook was selected Feb. 14 to fill the vacant Maricopa County assessor’s position and will resign his council seat at the Feb. 18 council meeting

Karla Bonoff
On stage or at festival, plenty to do in Gilbert through the weekend

It's Valentine's Day weekend, and even if you are out with your valentine on the 14th, there is plenty more you can do on the weekend in Gilbert

Higley USD
Vaping referrals decline, but Higley USD looks to combat habit

Preventive efforts in Higley USD’s high schools and middle schools have resulted in a decline in referrals this school year, district officials told the governing board Feb. 12.

Starbucks opens new location at Higley and Queen Creek roads in Gilbert

A location of Starbucks opened Feb. 6 at 4865 S. Higley Road, Ste. 104, Gilbert.

Rockwell Ice Cream Co. opens a Gilbert location Feb. 10

The Rockwell Ice Cream Co.'s Gilbert store is the second location for a parlor in Provo, Utah

Back to top