COTTONWOOD – Three years ago, Gail Malay retired after serving 11 years as superintendent of the Lake Havasu Unified School District.
Thursday, the Mingus Union School Board approved a $10,000 contract for Malay to provide consulting and coaching services to support Principal Genie Gee, who was named the district’s acting superintendent on Nov. 8.
Though Mingus Union School Board President Anita Glazar admitted that the “new board should be” responsible for the district’s transition plan to permanently replace former Superintendent Penny Hargrove, fellow Board Member Jim Ledbetter thanked Malay “for helping us out.”
“She’s been able to squeeze money out of budgets I didn’t think was possible,” Ledbetter said. “I highly recommend her and endorse her.”
Malay’s commitment “to support a new, acting or interim superintendent in a transition of leadership” will cost the district “an amount not to exceed $10,000.”
Malay’s specific duties were not defined at the Nov. 29 meeting.
Mingus board explores expanded benefit eligibility
It’s hard finding – and keeping – good bus drivers. That’s what the Mingus Union School Board said on Nov. 29 as it explored the possibility of expanding medical and dental benefits for employees working as few as 20 hours in a week.
With what Mingus Union Business Manager Lynn Leonard called a “severe bus driver shortage,” the board made no action Thursday but considered modified benefits for the part-time staff that would cover 100 percent of the dental coverage and 50 percent of the medical coverage, a figure Leonard said was “approximately $2,850 per employee.”
“Not a great expense to the district,” said Leonard, who also pointed out that “about five bus drivers might be interested in that.”
Leonard also told the board that the expanded benefits was for “all employees” who qualify, not only for bus drivers.
“We feel it would be a tremendous incentive,” Leonard said.
Should the Mingus Union School Board revisit – and vote to approve the expanded benefit plan, it would take place beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, according to the board’s Nov. 29 agenda packet.
Also part of the district’s recruitment and retention plan, the board voted 5-to-0 to increase the bus driver sign-on bonus from $300 to $500, as well as what the agenda called a “reevaluation of wage competitiveness based on years of experience.”
“Maybe $500 will get more drivers to apply?” Leonard told the board before its vote.
Outgoing board says new board should begin superintendent search
The Mingus Union School Board has not defined the length of time it would ask Genie Gee to serve as acting superintendent, though Board Member Jim Ledbetter agreed with incoming Board Member Chip Currie’s statement that “it would be best for the new board” to commence with the superintendent search.
“Whatever you do, do it early, so you can avoid finding a superintendent after the pickings are thin,” Ledbetter said.
Board Member Anthony Lozano also suggested that the new Mingus Union School Board – once it takes over on January 1 – should “look at superintendents who are already acquainted with the state of Arizona.”
Mingus, Clarkdale-Jerome end groundskeeper shared services agreement
Thursday, the Mingus Union School Board announced that the Clarkdale-Jerome School District will terminate its part of a groundskeeper shared services agreement effective Dec. 31.
In a letter to Mingus Union Business Manager Lynn Leonard, Clarkdale-Jerome Business Manager Kristy Aston said that Clarkdale-Jerome would combine its in-house grounds position with its maintenance position for a full-time position.
“We truly appreciate the support you have shown our district,” Aston wrote in the Nov. 19 letter. “Thank you for the services you have provided.”