Program

Dr. Chad Wilson – AJUSD Superintendent
Brian Killgore – AJUSD Public Relations Director
ImageFilling in on the spur of the moment for a program that had to be rescheduled, Dr. Chad Wilson and Brian Killgore gave an extemporaneous briefing of the status of the Apache Junction Unified School District.  Despite the lack of prepared notes, their presentation was informative and might be characterized as - the good, the bad and the ugly.


The Good
There is a tremendous amount of pride in the districts’ students and teachers. The students are exceptional and are performing well. This year’s seniors received more than one million dollars in scholarships to further their education. The attitude of both students and teachers is upbeat and positive. They are amazing.

The district is making headway in improving its image through a comprehensive marketing effort. The AJUSD website ( www.ajusd.org  ) includes links to information, programs, pictures and more. There is a presence on Facebook and Twitter; and a good relationship with local media outlets is continually being cultivated. Brochures for each school are available at the AJ Chamber of Commerce.

 

One really positive district program is “Summer Lunch” where school age children can go and get a hot meal. For many kids from financially disadvantaged families, this may be the only real meal they get on a given day.

The Bad
Financial constraints have made operating the district difficult to say the least.  Two schools have been closed down and there have been cutbacks in all school departments; fewer teachers and administrators, discontinued programs and lower salaries. District salaries have not remained competitive with nearby districts. Some teachers have left and are making up to $10,000 more in other districts.

Our population does not have a very high mix of families with school age children. That correlates to Federal and State funding issues. In addition, part of the funding problem has been the inability to get the local community to pass an Override. This year the School Board will not even attempt an Override … because they know it won’t pass.

The Ugly
We have two years before the financial situation causes the district to slide into a very ugly place – an economic cliff. If the financial situation does not improve before the spring of 2014 some really hard choices and dramatic cutbacks will be needed.  Even the unthinkable prospects of closing another school or discontinuing major sports programs are on the table. There may be a very difficult time ahead.