Keeping our community informed
Clarifying recent publicly reported information
To clarify information that has been publicly reported, please see the following:
Posted Dec. 2, 2019, 10:12 p.m.
Board names interim superintendent
At the special board meeting on Monday, Dec. 2, the Governing Board accepted the resignation of Dr. Ember Conley and approved the appointment of Dr. Pete Lesar as the interim superintendent. Dr. Lesar steps into the role on Dec. 3. He retired in July after a 32-year career at Mesa Public Schools, which encompassed many roles, from teacher to associate superintendent.
Posted Nov. 24, 2019, 10:31 p.m., updated Nov. 25, 2019, 8:25 a.m.
Report of complaint submitted to Arizona Attorney General's Office
Any citizen may submit a complaint for review by the Attorney General. It is standard district procedure that due to the timing of the legislative budget process, contracts are issued and then adjusted based on the Board-approved compensation plan.
Employee contracts include the following language:
District shall pay Employee as salary for the Contract Year the greater of (i) the salary amount set forth above or (ii) the salary amount determined by District's 2019-20 Compensation Plan adopted by the Board ("Employee's Salary"). If there is a difference between the Salary stated above and the amount computed according to District's Compensation Plan, the Compensation Plan shall govern. On or before July 31, 2019, District shall confirm Employee's Salary in a notice issued to Employee. Any change to Employee's Assigned Position or Contract Year that affects Employee's Salary shall be confirmed in a Revised Contract signed by District and Employee.
Posted Nov. 22, 2019, updated 5 p.m.
Additional compensation for administrators
Additional compensation for some district-level leadership, which is in addition to base salary, has been a long-standing practice in Arizona school districts. In Mesa Public Schools, the Governing Board approved "The Superintendent’s Executive Team Members and Additional Compensation" for 2019-20 on June 11, 2019. This did not include approving the base salaries. The amount of this additional compensation remained the same as the previous two years. This annual additional compensation was also approved by the board members at that time on June 26, 2018 and July 11, 2017. The practice of providing this additional compensation goes back more than a decade.
General administration spending
The district exceeded its budgeted general administration costs in the 2018-19 school year. The primary reason for this increase was a prepayment of $719,987 for liability insurance for the 2019-20 school year. According to the Uniform System of Financial Records, or USFR, districts can prepay certain expenses such as health or liability insurance premiums if they have the funds available. This provides flexibility in future years should a budget adjustment be needed. The funds used for the prepayment were identified during the year-end budget reconciliation and were included in the final expenses reported in the Annual Financial Report (AFR) approved by the Governing Board on Oct. 14, 2019.
Timing of events
The Nov. 5, 2019, election to approve a Mesa Public Schools budget increase had no bearing on the timing of the Governing Board’s action to place Dr. Conley on administrative leave. These were two independent events.