PV may get full-day kindergarten
by Ofelia Madrid
Full-day, tuition-free kindergarten would be available in Paradise Valley Unified School District schools next year if voters approve an override proposal in the spring.
Paradise Valley board members on Thursday called an override election for March 9 for additional funding for kindergarten through third grade. The 5 percent increase in the budget would provide $4.6 million per year. The extra money would allow a full day of kindergarten and new programs for lower-achieving students in kindergarten through third grade.
The board also called for a March 9 election seeking the renewal of the 10 percent override of $13.8 million yearly for maintenance and operation for kindergarten through 12th grade that was approved in the March 1999 election. Board member Sue Skidmore said the override is critical for the future of the district.
In other business, Roger Freeman, district director of assessment, presented to the board the school rankings released by the state Department of Education.
He also explained why Sunrise Middle School was ranked as excelling by the state, but did not met the federal requirement of Adequate Yearly Progress or AYP. To meet the federal standard the school must show higher scores in eight groups of students, including five ethnic groups, students who are learning English, students living in poverty and special-education students.
If a student in one of those groups fails to take the test, then the entire school fails to make Adequate Yearly Progress. At Sunrise, there was one special-education student who the school did not have tested and federal government officials disagreed, saying the student should have been tested, Freeman said. The school is appealing the ruling.
The board also had a first reading of some boundary adjustments. One of those would move some Mercury Mine Elementary School students to the closer Larkspur Elementary School. The parents of the students affected have been contacted, officials said. In addition, North Canyon High School was honored by the University of Arizona and given the Arizona Cup. The award is given to the state high school that has at least 30 freshmen enroll at the university who have the highest grade point average as a whole. The 30 North Canyon students had an average GPA of 3.439.