Gilbert Public Schools will hold public hearings July 27 and Aug. 10 on what instructional time models will be used to meet new state requirements for average daily membership, a key figure in the state’s education funding formulas.

The requirements are a result of House Bill 2862, which the Legislature passed into law in April.

The governing board unanimously approved advertising for the public hearings on the district website at its June 29 meeting.

Average daily membership, or ADM, is the total enrollment of fractional students and full-time students, minus withdrawals, of each school day through the first 100 days in session.

Under the bill’s provisions, a governing board, after two public hearings, may adopt any instructional time models to meet the minimum annual instructional time and instructional hours requirements prescribed by law to determine ADM.

A school district may deliver the annual required instructional time to students through any combination direct instruction, project-based learning, independent learning or mastery-based learning, where students must demonstrate mastery of a topic before moving on to another topic.

A district may define instructional time and instructional hours, without any impact on the district’s funding, to include any combination of in-person instruction or with remote instruction making up to 50% of its total instructional time. The remote instruction percentage portion of that combination will drop to 40% in school year 2022-23 and beyond.

In the coming school year, GPS plans to offer in-person instruction on campus and synchronous online learning at the elementary and secondary school levels. Additionally, it will offer distance learning and asynchronous online instruction for secondary school students.

The district intends to create an instructional time model for synchronous online learning at both the elementary and secondary levels and distance learning for secondary students.

“A lot of these things are approved [by the Legislature] late in the school year,” Superintendent Shane McCord said. “Being able to scramble [to] finish the current school year, propose a budget for the next school year and then look at something like this, it can be complicated. We want to make sure that our foot is set in the right direction and that we don't approve something that ends up fiscally irresponsible in the long run.”

In other business:

  • The board approved an increase of $1 per hour for bus driver base rate pay for new hires with a commercial driver’s license and $2 per hour for hourly workers in hourly positions deemed hard to fill. Both moves are meant to help the district attract employees, officials said.

  • Natalie Tenney was appointed director of nutrition services for the coming school year. She replaces Debbie McCarron, who is retiring after 28 years with the district.

  • The board had a first read on a policy that will establish a set time length for public comment speakers at board meetings based upon how many speakers wish to address the board. The limit will be three minutes for up to 15 speakers, two minutes for 16-30 speakers and one minute for more than 30 speakers.

  • The board had a first read on a policy for the employees’ sick leave bank, striking the exceptions put in for the year because of COVID-19.

  • The board had a first read on a policy on admission of transfer students, putting in place a uniform application of academic credits for students coming from private or public schools.

  • The meeting marked the last meeting for board member Reed Carr, whose resignation takes effect June 30. McCord and Carr’s fellow board members praised Carr’s contributions to the district. Carr said he hoped that he brought civility to the board.

    “I have always supported the idea of school choice,” Carr said. “I have strongly felt that my job on this board is to make Gilbert Public Schools the best choice.”