A Kyrene Elementary School District committee — whose recommendations to cut back the arts set off a recall effort — is preparing to meet again.
The K-8 Programming Committee, made up of 18 parents, teachers or administrators appointed by the district board, this time will review using an outside agency for custodial services and ways to improve gifted student programs.
Middle school custodians are worried they will lose their jobs. Many of the district’s custodians are being hired by the consultant, but not as many employees are expected to be needed. The district expects to save $300,000 using the company instead of lone janitors at every school.
"Most of us are working here because we care deeply about the education of students," said Bruce McBurney, president of the support staff union. "I know there are many publications that caution losing control through outsourcing."
Meanwhile, the Kyrene parents of gifted children have a long list of desires for improving the gifted education program in years to come.
"We want to do a comprehensive examination of all gifted services," said David Schauer, assistant superintendent.
The committee advised the school board last year to decrease middle school electives —Spanish, art, physical education and music — to every other day in order to lengthen math, science and history classes to 68 minutes.
The board approved those recommendations, upsetting hundreds of parents, who are now collecting signatures to recall board president Rae Waters. This year the committee plans to review whether their recommendations are improving test scores and performance.
Akimel A-al Middle School mom Ann Neimann said her daughter’s orchestra class is split in half this year — with no cellos in her section.
"I don’t think they can reverse it," Neimann said, but added that parents at least wanted some changes at improving arts.
The board met Tuesday to discuss ways to ensure the public feels they are getting heard. Board member Rich Zawtocki suggested a Web site.
The board also created a new policy that a board member’s spouse cannot be on the committee. Last year, Beth Doney, the wife of former board member John Doney, was a parent member.
What: K-8 Programming Committee, Kyrene Elementary School District
When: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Education Center, 8700 S. Kyrene Road, Tempe