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1/13/2013 9:55:00 PM
Humboldt Unified School District teachers unlikely to get raises this year
Special to the Courier

A projected 100-student drop in enrollment, possible increase in health insurance, fewer longtime teachers, and questions about whether the rates for the Arizona State Retirement System will go up, down or remain the same plague the Humboldt Unified School District.

HUSD Financial Director Cynthia Windham reported the dismal news to district representatives at the Jan. 4 Meet and Confer meeting during the financial update. Arizona voters' defeat in November of Prop 204, the Quality Education and Jobs Act, that ends the 1 percent sales tax voters approved in 2010, means the district won't see $3.3 million-3.5 million it would have received this coming budget year, Windham said.

The 100-day enrollment count that determines how much money the state allots to HUSD won't be known until Jan. 18, but she estimates the district will be down about 100 students.

"We're not there now, but the progression indicates it will be 100 students," she said. A 100-student decline equals about $400,000 loss in revenue.

Other financial information is unknown at this time. The district won't know for sure about increases in health insurance until February. March 31 is the notification date by the state for the district's rating on the Teacher Experience Index. This measures the years of experience for all fulltime teachers, and compares each district to the state average. Districts with a higher TEI number receive more money. As more experienced teachers retire or leave the district, HUSD's TEI number has gone down.

"It's a fairly key piece," Windham said. "We've lost about $200,000 a year over the last several years."

The Arizona State Retirement System rates could go up, they could go down, or they could stay the same, she said. "I'm betting on the fact they go up."

"What's happening at Humboldt is happening all over the state," said Dan Streeter, HUSD Human Resources director.

About the only good news for teachers was the first disbursement of Prop 301 money on Dec. 14. The first of two amounts was $1,150, about the same as December 2011's payment of $1,235. Teachers will get the second, as yet unknown, amount in May.

The Arizona Auditor General's Performance Audit shows how lean the district is operating in 2010, the year of the audit, Streeter said.

The report stated that Humboldt "operated efficiently with per-pupil costs that were lower than or similar to peer districts' costs in all operational areas. The District's administration and plant operations costs were much lower than its peer districts averaged. Further, although the District's per-pupil costs for food service and transportation were similar to peer districts, Humboldt USD operated these programs efficiently with lower costs per meal and lower costs per mile and per rider than peer districts.

"Operating efficiently allowed the District to spend more of its available resources for instructional purposes, which was especially important for HUSD because the District's fiscal year 2010 per-pupil operational spending of $6,432 was $664 less per pupil than its peer districts' and one of the lowest per-pupil spending amounts in the State. HUSD had less money available primarily because it did not receive additional funding through voter-approved budget overrides to increase its budget and chose to budget less of its capital monies for operational purposes."

The last raise teachers received was in the 2007-2008 school year, Streeter said.

"There's no more excess money. There are no more rocks to look under," he said.

Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013
Article comment by: to Iam Fedup

you're right it is because of the Charter Schools... and bless them for it. If these public schools keep performing so poorly and won't react properly (by REMOVING the BAD teachers) then parents can and will keep moving their kids to charter schools.

My wife, who is a teacher at a local charter school (where by the way, enrollement keeps GOING UP) recieved a nice raise this year. While at the same time, they removed the poor-performing teachers.

The teacher's union's are to blame of the lack of raises and these public schools continuing decline. i say: let 'em fail! GOOO CHARTER SCHOOLS!

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: Suck It Up

Whatever, Snark Bait. It has a subject and a verb. At least I didn't use the word "which" when I should have used "that." Look up the phrases "essential clause" and "non-essential clause." And no, I'm not a Californian, but go ahead and blame everything on them. In the year 2013, laying blame on something or someone else is always the way to go.

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: Larry T

TO: I Call BS
I lived in the northeast for 50 years and there are areas that are poorer but overall there standard of living is better. As soon as the housing market gets better. I plan to sell and get out of here. Most people hate anyone who works for the government and thinks everyone should make $8.00 per hour. As to roads at least they have roads 50% of our roads here are dirt. This state rates at the bottom for everything to do with schools, wages and government services.

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: Follow the money!! !!

Just follow the money. Education and children ARE NOT WHERE the money is. AZ is not commiited to Education. Just look at the bills that come out of that crazy body down in Phoenix. 204 was trashed mainly through lots of OUT of state money and lots of promises from the state legislature to adequately fund schools. There has been a 25% decline in funding without a 25% decline in students. Tryly. You will eventually get what you pay for and AZ will never escape that fact. And blaming the charters is just a ploy from those that do not know. Charters are full of parents trying to escape the realities forced on all schools by the lack of funding. I can't tell you the number of people that are throwing up their hands and saying " I give up." You do it. And we really cannot survive that kind of decision.

Remember we are society that puts it's money where our priorities are. AND IT IS NOT EDUCATION!

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: I Call BS

Larry t. So you believe that the northeast has a higher standard of living, do you? I frequently spend time in the Northeast and now and then travel the Northeast corridor from Vermont all the way into the South and I don't see any signs of a higher living standard. Sure, there are pockets of high-end living, but so are there pockets of wealth located throughout the Southwest. Not only that, but the weather is miserable, the roads narrow, in bad shape, and extremely crowded with nasty-tempered and viscous drivers. I can point you to many pockets of poverty and poor living standards located throughout the Northeast, both urban and rural. And, yes, taxes most definitely are very much higher. Check with a property owner from most any northeast state about their level of property taxes. Ask them about the "view tax," for instance. Ask them why they don't paint the front of their house or make other observable improvements and maintenance. Ask Mass. people why they move to New Hampshire. I'll tell you why, for the lower taxes, and N.H. taxes are pretty high by our standards. Moreover, the people I know from there are no better educated than are those from around here. I suggest you have spent little or no time in the Northeast. All I can say is if you want to live in that miserable section of the country, please go there. They need your taxes and we can do without you.

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: Snark Bait

To: Suck It Up. To you, who criticized someone else for making gramatical errors, please explain to us readers exactly what kind of sentence it is which you herein wrote: Children who got the WORST POSSIBLE education from HUSD and ended up going elsewhere. Regardless of your disclaimer, I smell a snarky Californian.

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Article comment by: John Rollo

See what I mean. No money for the teachers but the new School Administrator will get a raise. After two or three years he will move on to some other BS position in another town. And the teachers will still be here making do while taking heat for such a blessed job they have.

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Article comment by: I Know the Deal

Declining enrollment isn't charters. Some of those will close too. It's declining population in the area, loss of jobs. School district salaries are frozen almost everywhere since 07-08 due to loss of students and loss of funds/student from AZ. The "suck it up" person is probably what we call "chasing the charters" in search of the school of their dreams. Most of these situations are problem kids btw. Sometimes it's better they go elsewhere. There are some good charters and some bad charters around here.

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Article comment by: Mgmt Problems

Employees didn't get raises when the economy was Booming. Now, 8 years and counting! Name a business that loses 10% and keeps all facilities open .......None

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Article comment by: Suck It Up

I do have children. Children who got the WORST POSSIBLE education from HUSD and ended up going elsewhere. And to you, Proud Parent, Franklin Phonetic is a CHARTER school. Do you know what a charter school is? Perhaps your uneducated self should realize that it is one of many reasons HUSD is losing money and not giving teachers raises. So gee, you ALSO are part of the problem. And incidentally, it's pretty silly to write a response laden with grammatical errors and call someone else uneducated. I would guess you're the product of an Arizona education. And although it is common to blame those from California, I am not, Angel Moron. My point was that we ALL have had to cut back. Why are teachers exempt?

Posted: Monday, January 14, 2013
Article comment by: Angel Moroni

To "Suck It Up"...
Are you originally from California? FYI - teachers in AZ are paid poorly! They don't make the big money that teachers in places like IL and CA do. When a teacher retires in those states, he/she gets nearly two-thirds his/ her salary in pension plus additional benefits. In most cases, a retired teacher in either of these states collects a pension that is LARGER than the SALARIES of most experienced working teachers in AZ and many other states! It is both erroneous & sad that so many people in the 'private sector' think ALL teachers in this country are draining the taxpayers due to huge salaries and free & wonderful benefits. Most AZ teachers pay all or part of their health insurance and are grossly underpaid considering the amount of education they have and the overtime they put in to what is quickly becoming one of the most difficult, dangerous, and thankless professions in our country today!

Posted: Monday, January 14, 2013
Article comment by: Proud Parent

To "Suck it up", evidently you do not have children. The garbage man doesn't teach my daughter to read, the cable guy doesn't teach her math, teachers do. It's people like you is why teachers don't get respect. Let me tell your uneducated self something. If I won the lottery, I would donate the hell out of the local school district, especially Franklin Phonetic, it has been an amazing school for my child.

Posted: Monday, January 14, 2013
Article comment by: Suck It Up

A LOT of people have gone without raises for several years. What makes teachers better than others? If there is no money to pay the people, then do what people in the "private sector" have to do. Deal with it and be happy to have a job.

Posted: Monday, January 14, 2013
Article comment by: Larry t

Tom it is not a shame it is a disgrace to the staff who have given so much. We have money to cut taxes for business in the name of job growth the past 5 years. Well were are the jobs. If you want good paying jobs then we to improve schools. Good teacher want higher wages. Look at the northeast. They have higher taxes and some of the best schools. Along with a higher standard of living. Higher wages come with higher taxes for better schools. It is like everything in life you buy cheap you get junk.

Posted: Monday, January 14, 2013
Article comment by: The Thinking

So the teachers go another year without a pay raise, which they don't make a lot to begin with, but lets buy them guns and make them confront psychologically disturbed mass murderers who have assault rifles and bulletproof vests. I see no flaws with this at all.

Posted: Monday, January 14, 2013
Article comment by: Iam Fedup

This article is full of smoke and mirrors. Firstly, the alleged 100 student decline enrolement is caused by the charter schools. Secondly, the 1% "temporary" sales tax did not help to gvie our teachers a deserved raise because it was not additional revenue for education. It simply replaced revenue earmarked for education. Lastly, Prop 204 was defeated because it was full of pork unrelated to education. Money can be saved by moving sports from the schools to the communitiy and let the parents pay for their kids to play. Also, the schools are too top heavy with administrators. Give our teachers a raise!

Posted: Monday, January 14, 2013
Article comment by: Horace Mann

This is a truly and very bad situation. One wouldn't be surprised if some kind of a virus might impact the school making it impossible for the staff to work.

Posted: Monday, January 14, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

It is sad our tax base is not higher. As long as the developer - ranchers control the legislature we will not be able to attract good paying year around industry to locate here. That's what we need to grow our economy and our tax base. We should support teachers more but with increased costs of retirement and health care, there is still more money for education but not enough for increased wages.

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