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8:43 AM Tue, Nov. 20th

PUSD may extend marketing project with Tuesday vote<BR>

PRESCOTT – The Prescott Unified School District (PUSD) board will vote on the proposed $35,000 marketing budget for the 2002-03 school year at its voting session at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the district office boardroom, 146 S. Granite St.

Superintendent Kevin Kapp stressed at a study session this past Tuesday that the money for the budget would not come from the district's Maintenance and Operations budget, but from civic center funds (money the district gets for renting out schools and buses).

If approved, this will be the second year for the new marketing budget. Last year, Kapp said approximately one-third of the money was spent on consulting fees, which included graphic artwork, text write-up, brochures and advertising. They used it for advertising in The Daily Courier, commercials on Cable One, advertising with the Chamber of Commerce and "mystery shopping."

Mystery shopping means they send people to schools to evaluate customer service, without the staff knowing who they are.

If the budget is approved, a good portion of the money will go toward upgrading the district's Web site to make it more "user friendly and exciting," Kapp said.

Also, they will use it to advertise on district school buses, print advertising and again, about one-third will go for consulting fees.

Kapp said the district did an enrollment count on Sept. 5 to see how its enrollment compared to last year's.

"We were up 103 students in the district, which is about 2 percent," Kapp said. "We haven't seen that kind of growth in a long time."

He said they have seen declining enrollment for the past six or seven years, and "now the enrollment decline appears to be stopping."

Kapp believes that the advertising has played a significant role in the growth.

Also at the meeting Tuesday, the board will vote on the proposed governing board goals. One goal is to have more professional enhancement and growth. The district would focus on determining and dealing with job satisfaction, professional and personal growth and publicizing growth opportunities to all PUSD staff, parents and the community.

The second goal is to focus on character/citizenship in the district's schools. This would entail implementing "Character Counts" programs, and tracking the effects of the program on student behavior and attitude.

Another proposed goal would be to focus on transition programs for students and families, including the transition from 5th to 6th grade and from 8th to 9th grade.

The fourth goal would be to concentrate on student academic growth. This includes developing an accountability system to keep track of the growth, evaluating the programs and utilizing ongoing data and information to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs.

The board will also vote on the following items:

• Granting permission to the Arizona School Boards Association to allow public access to the district's Governing Board Policy Manual on the ASBA Web site. This would allow the public and staff members to have access to district policy updates.

• Approval of a 20 percent "buy-out" program. If approved, the program would be in place to create additional revenue for the Maintenance and Operation budget. There may be PUSD staff members who will retire/resign at the end of the 2002-03 school year, and this would allow the board to post vacant positions sooner and hire from a larger candidate pool.

• Approval of the uses for Prop. 301 "lower 40" money at Lincoln School for these items: class size reduction, teacher compensation increase, AIMS intervention programs, teacher development, dropout prevention programs and teacher liability insurance programs.

Contact Rachelle Bump at rbump@prescottaz.com.