Super Intendent's Corner

Howard CarlsonDr. 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. 

As an administrator, Dr. Carlson has served at the building and central office levels; first becoming a superintendent in 1997. He has served as an assistant superintendent and superintendent in the states of Washington, Minnesota, and now Arizona. Dr. Carlson co-authored a book for new superintendents titled, “So Now You’re the Superintendent,” which was selected by the American Association of School Administrators to be jointly published with Corwin Press.

Dr. Carlson has been recognized as a state and national “Teacher of the Year,” “Administrator of the Year,” and was recently named Wickenburg's “Man of the Year." In 2011, he accepted an appointment by Governor Jan Brewer to serve on the state’s E-Learning Task Force.

Dr. Carlson has four children, all of which are school age and attend WUSD schools. His wife is also a certified teacher, and she currently teaches art and music (including band) at Festival Foothills Elementary School.

Dr. Carlson welcomes your comments and concerns.  You may e-mail him anytime or give him a call at (928) 668-5350.


Current Education Article
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.
   
I hope this helps each of you to understand the impact, which Prop 123 funds have had in increasing teacher salaries and the very dire health, and safety needs that lie before us. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at hcarlson@wickenburk.k12.az.us.