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Public Agencies update Big Park Council Sept. 14

Mary Pope

Mary Pope

Randy Hawley, SOCUSD Board president, noted that at the September School Board meeting, a stipend was approved to improve the district’s ability to recruit new teachers in math, science and special education. The Board also approved retention stipends for those teachers evaluated as effective or highly effective as well as those demonstrating success with low-achieving students. The public budget override vote in November seeks to remain at the 2018 level for the next five years. No tax increase is proposed.

State funding cuts have required school districts to request budget overrides. The override funds pay for such programs as full-day kindergarten, elementary school art, some A.P. Courses and music programs.

The Wildcat program in the West Sedona School is continuing with support from a private benefactor and other clubs and organizations such as yoga, chess, hiking, arts and crafts, and reading are also continuing. Community support is an important part of Club activities. At RRHS the Interact club visited the Sedona Winds to interact with residents and assisted with Meals on Wheels. The schools are participating in a nationwide program (WestEd) to help continue professional development in a variety of instructional areas. Mr. Hawley expressed appreciation for the many community volunteers who stepped up to assist in the classrooms.

Verde Valley School

Ben Lee, Head of Verde Valley School thanked Rolf Funk of the Big Park Council Art in the Roundabouts Committee for coming to the school and meeting with Todd Richardson’s art class. The students are really excited about participating in the project. He then took the opportunity to thank all who have sent their condolences regarding the tragic death of Jeanne Howell, who was a wonderful person, great life force and a great math teacher at VVS for 10 years. The school and her family were overwhelmed with the good wishes that came in from the community. The school year had begun well with 122 children in attendance. He reminded the Council that the AZ Tax Credit has been changed somewhat this year and people can use the credit to support the Verde Valley School.

Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO)

Sgt. Anthony Horn has worked for the YCSO for eight years and transferred to the Village from Prescott a month ago. He noted that there are speeding concerns along Jacks Canyon Road. He’s currently working with Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to get grant money to be able to assign deputies outside of their regular shifts primarily and specifically for traffic enforcement along SR 179 and Jacks Canyon Road.

Enforcement focuses on areas where there have been complaints. There is continuing activity with respect to trailhead burglaries; now also involving the criminal investigations bureau. Several suspects have been identified and leads are being explored.

In addition, he announced that a new administrative assistant has been hired for the Village office and is currently being trained. Having an administrative assistant will enable the office to remain open to support the community. Sgt. Horn noted there are civilian volunteers who assist the Sheriff’s office and there is currently a new one in training.

These volunteers assist with non-criminal activities such as helping motorists in need and checking homes where the owners are on vacation. They currently have three trained volunteers in our Eastern area command which includes Cottonwood.

Sgt. Horn looks forward to continuing to build up our support and relationships in the community.

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