Election update

The Nov. 6 election results are official. Thankfully, the $300 million bond question passed with just over 50% of the votes cast. This success is the narrowest margin the district has ever experienced. Unfortunately, the override results did not change and it did not pass, for the first time since its inception in 1995. The decision to place the override on a future ballot rests with the Governing Board, our elected body, and they are taking this responsibility very seriously.  The five members are deeply supportive of the work we do each and every day for our Mesa Public Schools students.

The hold on all capital projects and expenditures, including the remaining $29 million in 2012 bonds, has been lifted. Schools and departments can spend in alignment with their capital budgets. The remaining 2012 bond funds will be spent according to the board-approved allocation. We will begin to implement the plan presented to the community for the expenditure of the new 2018 bonds. This plan will be fully detailed through our upcoming strategic and master planning process.

Because the override did not pass, the hiring freeze for all positions, except classroom teachers, will remain in effect. The only modification is that critical open positions aligned to district goals may be appealed to cabinet for hiring approval. I have already approved the hiring of bus drivers, as the district has a critical shortage. In addition, all M&O-funded travel is suspended.

We have begun the priority-based budgeting process that will guide us through the 2019-20 school year. The priorities are set to meet our 2023 goals. Our focus will continue to be that each student is known by name, served by strength and need, and graduates ready for college, career and community.

The first step is a review of staffing patterns and needs. Our goal is to attract and retain outstanding staff to meet our vision of unprecedented excellence in education. As previously noted, the additional 5% override, or approximately $17 million, was needed to address the minimum wage requirements for our hourly classified employees. In January, 60% of our classified staff will be within $1 of minimum wage. Everyone should anticipate M&O budget adjustments to offset this state requirement.

We are conducting an energy audit to examine current behaviors, and adjust and maximize systems. Additionally, we have begun a review of transportation routes and scheduling to provide additional savings and effectively use the staff we currently employ. Finally, we are developing methods to centralize processes to create greater consistencies and efficiencies.

Thank you for your dedication to Mesa Public Schools, our students and our community. Together, we will continue on our journey to deliver on our promise and meet our 2023 student outcomes.


Ember Conley signature

Dr. Ember Conley


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