The Gilbert Public Schools governing board on Nov. 30 approved the 2022-23 course description books for high schools, junior highs and Gilbert Classical Academy as well as the fees schedule.

Krista Cox, GPS secondary school curriculum, instruction and assessment director, summarized the changes for the board as being done to improve the user friendliness of the book through its structure and format.

“Our committee this year received the least amount of submissions (for changes) from campuses, so that allowed the committee to dive into really going page by page of the course description book and looking at it through the lens of our students and parents,” Cox said.

It also added a section on diploma and proficiency seal opportunities students could pursue, she said.

English language learner and special education courses were moved into the core area to be more inclusive, Cox said.

The committee that worked on the books also looked to eliminate “gatekeeping” language that might make a student think there was a barrier to joining or having access to certain classes, Cox said.

The few fee increases were minimal, Cox said, and only done for new courses or courses where material costs truly had gone up.

The board unanimously approved the books.

In other items:

  • Finance Director Jackie Mattinen presented the first quarter financial report, which showed revenues are up $2.8 million over first quarter of last year and are at about 11.5% of what is expected for the year. Expenses, including encumbered money, are up $6.2 million, about 2.4% from last year, mostly on increased salaries.

  • The district is trying to encourage families whose students are eligible for the free and reduced lunch program to fill out the application, though all meals this year are free through a federal government program this year. Business Services Assistant Superintendent Bonnie Betz said being qualified for free and reduced lunches comes with other benefits for families beyond meals. She added that Title I schools—schools that serve a high number of low-income families—need enough students to be qualified for the program to continue receiving additional funding from the federal government.

  • The board had a first read on four policy changes that have been done because of law changes from the Arizona Legislature. The policies were on board member development opportunities, reporting child abuse and child protection, student discipline and student suspensions. The changes will go back to the policy committee before final approval.