Here you will find important information Dr. Carlson wants to be sure to communicate to the Wickenburg community. Please check it often so that you are continually educated and aware of the issues facing our district.
Here you will find recent articles regarding important issues facing the Wickenburg Unified School District. To view past articles, please visit our archive.
Dr. Howard Carlson began his career in the state of Washington where he taught agriculture, science, and math courses at the middle school and high school levels. He earned his B.S. Degree from Washington State University and his Master’s degree from Heritage University. He completed his doctorate at Washington State University in 1997.
What Happened to Prop 123?
This past May, Arizona voters approved Prop 123 as a way to address the school funding inflation lawsuit. Based upon estimated calculations, WUSD should receive $183,000 per year in new revenue, which will go 100% toward teacher salaries. The addition of these funds has enabled the district to raise its base salary to $36,000, and we are already seeing benefits in terms of recruiting and hiring.
Receipt of Prop 123 funds begins to solve one of two major issues the district faces (teacher salaries) which is describe in detail below. The second issue is ongoing, and we designed the bond we are placing before voters on November 8 to address these needs.
Item Number One - Over the past three years, WUSD has lost close to 25% of the high school staff each year and nearly 50% of our middle school math and science teachers. We have developed a recruitment and retention plan that provides a range of initiatives from grant forgiveness to housing but competitive salaries were a main factor. We have been increasing salaries over the past couple of years, but it was not until we received Prop 123 monies that we could truly tackle this issue in an effective manner. As stated above, we have put 100% of these funds toward teacher salaries starting the 2016-2017 school year and as a result now offer a competitive salary when compared to school districts in the valley.
Item number Two - Now that Prop 123 funds are beginning to address our teacher salaries, our other major concern is the health and safety of our students and the preservation of voter owned schools, equipment, and facilities. In 2009, WUSD received $813,000 in capital dollars from the state to maintain and replace buses, repair roofs and A/C units, fix parking lots, replace technology, etc. In the 2016-2017 school year, we will receive $72,000 ($118,000 last year); this is a 91% loss. As a result, our infrastructure has fallen into disrepair. Over half our students ride on historic or antique buses (most with no air conditioning), we have roofs which are leaking, A/C units which don't work, parking lots which are cracking and building security issues which must be addressed for the safety of our students and staff. To provide a bit of context, one bus costs $130,000 (we operate twenty-two daily) and the high school gym roof (which is seventeen years old) costs $150,000 to replace. At this point, the state does not have a plan to provide increased funding for these needs. Therefore, we must figure the problem out on our own. In my mind, it is now a moral responsibility. As such, we are putting a ten million dollar bond before the voters on November 8 to solve these issues. If you would like to learn more please go the district’s website for additional information.