Board resolution supports initiative

April 27, 2018 GMT

BULLHEAD CITY — The #RedForEd movement had supporters on both sides of the podium at Thursday evening’s meeting of the Bullhead City Elementary School District governing board.

In the audience sat dozens of teachers wearing the color, which is aimed at bringing attention to their goal of raising teacher pay and increasing state spending on education.

Board members showed their support by approving a resolution with similar aims.

The resolution mentions the board’s prior efforts to pay for teacher raises and other educational needs “only to see the Arizona Legislature fail to stop enacting tax cuts that run counter to our efforts.”

Also part of the resolution is note of the state government’s elimination of capital dollars, which for the BHCESD was more than $1 million a year. Capital cash is used to buy buses and technology among other items, and to maintain school buildings.

“On behalf of our students and families, we cannot allow this crisis to continue without a plan to address these issues,” Supt. Riley Frei read. “We support our school employees as they make their demands known for the necessary funding for a meaningful teacher and support staff pay raise and education funding.”

The resolution closes by urging the legislature to develop a plan to pay teachers and support staff appropriately and restore all capital dollars needed to maintain the district’s campuses and transportation system.

Also at the meeting, board members identified priorities for the 2019 legislative session. First among them is to restore state aid for all-day kindergarten; the district foots half the bill for it from its own budget.

Next are reducing unfunded and underfunded mandates, including schools in discussions on school safety, providing state aid for school safety programs and providing money to address a shortage of school counselors.

The board voted to table adoption of a new teacher evaluation document. Some board members said they had not had time to review it and wanted teachers to weigh in on it.

Frei said the same group of employees has worked on the instrument for years, and some who were classroom teachers are now administrators.