More than 100 teachers within the Chino Valley Unified School District will be able to receive one-fifth of their salary thanks to a decision by the governing board last week.
The money comes from the reauthorization of Proposition 301, also known as the Relating to Sales Tax for Education Act, which voters approved in 2000. As per the act, about $3,000 goes into teachers’ salaries and districts choose how to spend the rest, said Superintendent John Scholl.
“We have some options of how to spend that and the district chooses to give all of that to the teachers. That’s another $4,500. There’s about $7,500 that they receive in Prop 301 money,” Scholl said, noting that without the board reauthorizing where the money goes, the money would disappear out of their salaries. “It’s probably, on average, 20 percent of our teachers’ salaries.”
It’s paid twice a year in November and June based on the teachers’ performances, Assistant Superintendent Cindy Daniels said.
Prior to its approval by the governing board, the Prop 301 plan had to be approved by 70 percent of the 114 teachers eligible to receive the distribution, Daniels said. Of that 114, 112 voted and 99 percent approved of the plan, she said, commenting that every year, there are a couple who vote against it based on principle.
“They don’t think they should have to do more to get the money the voters approve,” Daniels said. “Whether we agree with them or not, the law says we still have to pay them per performance.”
Sometimes, there are teachers who don’t qualify and partly that can happen if they have a poor performance review, she said. However, those who do receive poor performance reviews are able to request another evaluation if they improve or believe they have prior to the Prop 301 distribution, Scholl said.
“They have a chance to improve before they lose out on that money,” he said. “Everyone’s done as much as they can with the goal of getting 100 percent of this money into the teachers’ hands.”
The school board this past week also approved class size goals, with Scholl remarking that while the average class size is less than the goal of 35 students, some have more than that.
The biggest issue is the size of special education class sizes as they are much higher than they should be, he said. As such, if someone outside the Chino Valley Unified School District wanted to have their child attend school within the district for special education services, the special education department is closed because it’s overburdened, Scholl said.
“We’re beyond what the recommended class sizes are for special education,” he said, stating that more money for more teachers wouldn’t help. “There’s no teachers out there in special education … we are extremely lucky, and it only happened because we downsized a teacher, to have all our special (education) positions filled. That wasn’t the case last year. I can tell you that’s not the case in Prescott right now, I can tell you it’s not the case in Humboldt right now. Everyone statewide, and I can probably safely say nationwide, are looking for special ed teachers.”
It is always hard to find special education teachers, said Board Member Sherry Brown, also mentioning that from what she’s seen, she believes the district is doing the best it can with what it has.
In other business, the school board:
• Approved CTE Administrative Assistant salary & hours.
• Approved two additional paraprofessional positions for the Territorial Early Childhood Center.
• Approved a paraprofessional for the Emotional Disturbance Program.
• Approval of the Arizona School Board Association Bylaw Amendments.