549 N. Stapley, Mesa, AZ


 1. Review of Agenda Items
The Board briefly reviewed the agenda. Mrs. Sylvester-McCarroll reviewed the resolution for the sale of bonds that is on the consent agenda.

The Board briefly discussed their support for nominating Mrs. Richardson as the Board President and Mr. Smith as the Board Clerk. 

2. Review of Governing Board Calendar
The Board briefly reviewed its calendar through March 2017. The Board also recommended the cancellation of the March 14, 2017, meeting due to spring break. 

3. Presentation on Sports Eligibility
Dr. Hogen made a presentation on sports eligibility. Athletic directors, principals, Dr. Lesar, and Dr. Hogen have been working on a new eligibility proposal per the Board’s direction. He outlined a proposal that would allow students to regain eligibility at a faster rate. This proposal would bring the District more in line with surrounding districts.

The Board expressed its desire to apply this to other groups such as marching band, spirit line, etc. Dr. DePrez will work with Dr. Hogen and the appropriate staff and provide a final proposal for the Board’s review.  

4. Presentation on Certificated Contracts
Dr. Holmes made a presentation on certificated contracts. He stated that the teacher shortage in the state has presented a challenge in teacher recruitment and retention. The competition among surrounding districts has also escalated the problem. He asked the Board to change the process of hiring new teachers. Dr. Holmes suggested that a contract be offered the day of selection by the administrator and then bring the recommended candidate to the Board for approval. This process will give the District an edge in hiring quality teachers and is supported by District policy. The Board stated its support of this change with the understanding that District policy will be followed and the Board will have final approval. 

5. Presentation on Meet and Confer
Dr. Cowan made a brief presentation on Meet and Confer. He provided an outline of Governor Ducey’s key policy priorities and will provide more details once the Governor releases his budget.

Dr. Cowan also reported on the effects the new minimum wage law has on the District. To raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour costs the District an additional $400,000 per year. Another $1.3 million per year will be needed as the minimum wage continues to rise to $10.50 per hour. The new accrual of sick leave for these employees, one hour per 30 hours worked, will also increase costs to the District. Substitute teacher wages will need to be addressed as well as sick leave. With no clear identification of new monies from the state, this will provide a real challenge to the finances of the District. Also compounding finance issues, is the rectification of wages for the remaining employees and the salary schedule. 

6. Updates from Board Members/Superintendents
Assistant superintendents provided updates on District task forces and will provide in-depth updates in upcoming meetings.


1. Election of Governing Board Officers
Mr. Peterson thanked the administration and fellow Board members for their support this past year. Dr. Cowan extended his appreciation on behalf of the administration for Mr. Peterson's service. He also thanked the other Board members for their continued support and hard work and welcomed new Board Members Mrs. Miner and Mrs. Sears.

On the motion of Mr. Peterson, the Board unanimously elected Mrs. Richardson as the Governing Board President for the 2017 calendar year.

At this time Mrs. Richardson took over the duties of Board President.

On the motion of Mrs. Richardson, the Board unanimously elected Mr. Smith as the Governing Board Clerk for the 2017 calendar year. 

2. Policies and Regulations
On the motion of Mr. Smith, the Board unanimously adopted Governing Board policies and administrative regulations, including Governing Board Policy IGAK - Native American Education, as presently constituted, for the 2017 calendar year. 

3. Delegation of Authority to Superintendent
On the motion of Mr. Smith and pursuant to A.R.S. § 15-321, 15-341, 15-536, 15-538, and 15-539, the Board unanimously approved the delegation of authority to and appointment of the Superintendent, or designee, to sign, by hand or facsimile signature, and deliver on behalf of the Governing Board:

1.   All reports and funding requests required by state or federal law;

2.   Intergovernmental agreements; 

3.   Letters of preliminary notice of inadequacy of classroom performance; notices of dismissal, notices of suspension, and non-renewals of contracts; and 

4.   All other official/legal documents which require the signature of the chief executive officer of the Mesa Unified School District No. 4 for the 2017 calendar year and through and including the date of the first meeting of the Governing Board in 2018.

4. Delegation of Authority to Board President and/or Clerk and School District Officials
On the motion of Mrs. Sears, the Board unanimously approved the following:

1.   Pursuant to A.R.S. § 15-321 and 15-341, delegation of authority to the President and/or Clerk of the Governing Board to sign, by hand or facsimile signature, official/legal documents, contracts, or agreements on behalf of the Board for the 2017 calendar year.

2.   Pursuant to A.R.S. § 15-321 and 15-341, delegation of authority to the Superintendent, Associate Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Support Services, Chief Financial Officer, and Director of Purchasing to make debit or credit purchases of goods and services on behalf of the district with a district purchasing card or other credit or debit instrument for the 2017 calendar year. 

5. Student Activities Treasurer Appointment
On the motion of Mrs. Miner, the Board unanimously approved the appointment of the Chief Financial Officer as student activities treasurer for the 2017 calendar year and authorization for her to be bonded in the amount of $5,000.

6. Appointments of Hearing and Compliance Officers, Employee Benefit Trust Members, and District Representative  Regarding Purchasing Protests
On the motion of Mr. Peterson, the Board unanimously approved the following:

1.   Appointment of the following hearing officers for Section 504 complaints, employee due process hearings, student due process hearings, and bid protests for the 2017 calendar year: Mrs. Julia Kelly, Mr. Chris Thomas, Mrs. Colleen Thomas, and all persons designated as hearing officers by the Arizona Department of Education or State Board of Education pursuant to A.R.S. § 15-541 or A.A.C. R7-2-1158.

2.   Selection of compliance officers for the 2017 calendar year, as follows: the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, or the Superintendent's designee, as the compliance officer for all complaints made by employees relating to Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; and the Executive Director of Special Education as the compliance officer for all complaints made by students relating to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and for all complaints by students, employees, or visitors relating to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

3.   Appointment of Mrs. Jill Benza, Mr. Mike Elliot, and Mrs. Marilyn Wilson as the Board of Trustees for the Employee Benefit Trust for the 2017 calendar year. 

4.   Pursuant to the School District Procurement Code, A.A.C. R7-2-1001, et seq., appointment of the Director of Purchasing as District Representative for the purpose of issuing decisions in response to protests filed pursuant to R7-2-1142, for the 2017 calendar year. In the event that the Director of Purchasing cannot act, the Assistant Superintendent of Business and Support Services will act as the District Representative.

7.  Minutes
On the motion of Mr. Peterson, the Board approved the minutes of a regular meeting held December 13, 2016. Mrs. Miner, Mrs. Sears, and Mr. Smith did not vote as they were not present.

On the motion of Mr. Smith, the Board approved the minutes of a special hearing held on December 20, 2016. Mrs. Miner and Mrs. Sears did not vote as they were not present. 

8. Personnel Request
On the motion of Mrs. Sears, the Board unanimously approved the certificated and classified personnel requests, including an addendum.

9.  Consent Agenda
President Richardson pulled the consent agenda item regarding the issuance and sale of school improvement bonds for further discussion.

On the motion of Mrs. Miner, the Board unanimously approved the consent agenda according to the recommended action for each item. 

10. Resolution
Mrs. Sylvester-McCarroll provided a brief history of the issuance and sale of school improvement bonds. After a brief discussion and on the motion of Mr. Smith, the Board unanimously adopted a resolution authorizing the issuance and sale of school improvement bonds of the District.

11.  Superintendent's Report 
Dr. Cowan wished everyone a happy new year and welcomed students back for another semester of outstanding teaching and learning. He welcomed new Board members, Elaine Miner and Kiana Sears. He also congratulated Mrs. Richardson, new Board president, and Mr. Smith, new Board clerk.

Dr. Cowan reported on the following:

Renee Parker, Sirrine Elementary School Principal, received the GCU  Strategic Educational Alliances STEM Principal of the Month award from Grand Canyon University. The award came with a $500 grant toward STEM supplies for the school from souLL Architects. Renee has also advanced to Rodel Exemplary Principal final status.

Students at Guerrero Elementary School kicked off the holiday season by hosting a national assembly called “Be Fit. Be Healthy. Be Kind!” It was sponsored by the Be Kind People Project and powered by Fiesta Bowl Charities. At a high-energy, hip-hop-style performance, students learned that kindness is cool and healthy lifestyles are important. Everyone at the assembly received a pedometer and healthy habits checklist, and the school was presented with a stationary bike for staff use.

For the first time in its history, the Fiesta Bowl Organization selected 40 Arizona teachers representing A+ Schools of Excellence™ statewide to serve as the Grand Marshals in the 46thAnnual National Bank of Arizona Fiesta Bowl Parade. Congratulations to Whitman Elementary School teachers, Susan Stanton, Lori Lane, and Holly Butler for representing Mesa Public Schools in the parade.

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the MLK Celebration committee is sponsoring a variety of festivities for the community on Monday, January 16.

  • 8:00 a.m. – Breakfast at the Mesa Convention Center
  • 11:00 a.m. – Parade starting at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Center Street
  • 12:00 p.m. – Festival at the Mesa Arts Center
  • 2:00 p.m. – Mesa Public Schools Writing, Multi-Media, and Oratory award winners at the Mesa Arts Center

12. Students of the Month
On behalf of the Governing Board and administration, school staff presented Student of Month awards for January 2017, to the following for their accomplishments:

  • Elijah Butler, Mesa High School
  • Rylee Vasquez, Eisenhower Center for Innovation
  • Rhett Gleason, Field Elementary School
  • Caitlyn Leslie, Highland Arts Elementary School
  • Calina Nguyen, Roosevelt Elementary School
  • Shakib Martinez, Taft Elementary School

Students received a plaque displaying the award certificate and a $25 Amazon gift card provided by the Mesa Foundation for Educational Excellence. 

13.  Presentation on Elementary Dean Positions
Christel Arbogast, Emerson Elementary School Principal; Chuck Burger, Webster Elementary School Principal; and Stacey Ball, Elementary Dean of Students at Emerson and Webster elementary schools; made a presentation on the elementary dean positions. This year the District hired seven elementary deans that help at 14 high-needs elementary schools. Schools were selected based on enrollment and free and reduced lunch rates.

Both principals shared that the deans of students provide help with evaluations, child study team, teacher mentoring and coaching, and monitoring of systems and facility operations. They also stressed the important role they provide in teacher and student support.

Mrs. Arbogast stated that having a dean on campus gives her the opportunity to spend time with parents and community members to better promote the District and school.

Mrs. Ball stated that serving as a dean provides her the opportunity to visualize the role of a school leader. The new administrator training provided by the District is also invaluable and provides great support.

Mr. Burger stated that this position serves as a great opportunity to groom leaders within the District, thus providing a continuum of the District’s vision.

The meeting adjourned at 8:26 p.m.