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Opinion

Reveles: Is AJUSD board making politically motivated decisions?

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The following was a statement made at the Jan. 23 meeting of the Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board:

Board President Kimble and board members: Over the past year I’ve wondered about the rationale for the inexplicable decision to force out of office Superintendent Heather Wallace with a separation agreement and details that to date have not been publicized.

Instead of explaining what justified the sudden decision, the board president offered a terse “we decided to go in a different direction.”

With each passing month the “different direction” has come into focus as we learned that board members Dena Kimble and Gail Ross each received $500 in donations made inappropriately by the Pinal County Republican Party. Underscoring that the new direction appears to be a political campaign designed not to improve the education outcomes of our students, but to promote a political agenda.

How else explain changes whereby special education students are not receiving services due to staffing, reduction of support staff, large groups of staff exiting in the middle of the school year due to poor work environment, bungling of moving the Pre-K to a new location, the constant turnover in the business office.

Curious moves that effectively are keeping parents and the public in the dark by not filming the board’s work sessions, moving the work sessions to 2 p.m., and waiting weeks to post the board’s minutes.

All of these changes raise further questions about the politically-motivated “new direction,” including tonight’s consent agenda 5.2, seeking approval of reduction in force list for the 2024-25 school year. A decision designed to take effect without allowing parents, teachers and the public to engage in this serious decision to eliminate resources for our students.

A different direction indeed. Hopefully the public will have a voice in choosing what direction we want for our unified school district.

Reader reactions, pro or con, are welcomed at AzOpinions@iniusa.org.

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