School Board Hears Current Enrollment Figures


The Maricopa Unified School District’s governing board met for its regular meeting on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 at the high school. Board president Rachel Lindgren chaired the meeting and directors Thelma Foreman and Robert Roth were also present.

Don Brubaker, representing the Gilleland and Brubaker architectural firm, updated the Board, Superintendent Alma Farrell and residents in attendance on Maricopa’s next elementary school (see related story). Dr. Roth questioned the possibility of agricultural spraying too near this school, a matter to be further investigated by MUSD’s finance director, Paul Kasparian.

In other matters, the Board approved payroll and expense vouchers and December and January trips for the wrestling team. Two bids for diesel fuel were rejected on the advice of Mr. Kasparian due to increasing prices. The bid specifications will be rewritten, bulk dealers will be contacted and new vendor bids will be sought.

Maricopa Unified School District’s governing board members meet in regular session.

Superintendent Farrell reported that as of August 11 the District’s student enrollment is 1699. This figure includes 696 students at Santa Rosa Elementary, 375 students at Maricopa Elementary, 249 middle school students and 379 high school students. Some students have pre-enrolled, but are not yet in the District and, thus, are not included in this figure. Fifth and sixth grade classes have 29 -30 students, and the secondary school has several classes in excess of 30 students.

Principal Jeff St. Clair thanked the Board for passing a more aggressive secondary attendance policy last year. The policy states that “If a student is absent more than five days in a quarter in the same class, excused or unexcused, he or she will lose credit for that class.” Mr. St. Clair attributes a notable difference in attendance to this policy, already exclaiming, “Students ARE there.” According to Mr. St. Clair, the policy is included in handbooks that are “being printed and should be available in approximately two weeks.”

Superintendent Farrell reiterated last year’s absentee rate for the secondary school of 3.96%, a figure that she “would match with any school in the state.” The Board approved four attendance officers who will work with Bob Brown of the Pinal County Attorney’s office and may issue citations to 7th – 12th graders with excessive absences. Superintendent Farrell explained, “A truant officer should be hired about October 1st.”

Superintendent Alma Farrell explains the need for a second high school.

Superintendent Farrell presented a feasibility study for hiring a two-man consulting firm to help acquire State land for a second high school. “This is a two year process and this firm does everything from A to Z”, explained Ms. Farrell. The cost would be a maximum of $26,000 which would come from impact fees. The State land department grants 99-year leases, but the State Facilities Board and the local committee and School Board must also approve a school site.

Presently, builders have donated 15 elementary sites and five (5) middle school sites. However, a high school site requires much more land. The current site is 40 acres, and the new site would require about 65 acres. A second high school is at least five years from completion. Said Ms.Farrell, “If we don’t act now, commercial people will take all the choice sites. Our demographic study showed the need for two and a half high schools.”

Maricopa residents are welcome and encouraged to attend future Board meetings.