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6:00 AM Thu, Nov. 15th

HUSD to reinstate some positions

Schmitt

PRESCOTT VALLEY – To combat its 2003-04 budget deficit of more than $700,000, the Humboldt Unified School District (HUSD) slashed its workforce and programs, resulting in a savings of almost half a million dollars in the current school year alone.

But because of the renewed financial health of the district as it closes the book on 2003, the board has unanimously approved restoring three full-time certified music positions and two full-time certified librarian positions for the second semester of the current year.

"This provides students of our district with the same music and library programs that were eliminated," said Superintendent Henry Schmitt.

Because the district has managed its finances and expenditures while gaining more than 300 students for the 2003-04 school term, the board was able to make this hallmark decision, Schmitt said.

"It is important to note that teachers, administrators and the board placed high importance on certified staff to provide academic excellence in these restored programs for our students," Schmitt noted.

As an example, Schmitt said that while other districts choose to staff librarian positions with aides, HUSD instead chose to hire certified instructors.

"That decision means we're working to build a higher level of excellence," Schmitt said. "We want to step out as a district, above what other districts are doing. Our focus is, and will continue to be, on student achievement."

Schmitt said the district will evaluate the program's success in late spring, with continuation in the 2004-05 school year as the goal.

Funding sources for the immediate reinstatement of 8.5 certified positions and 9.25 classified staff members includes rapid decline money, sudden-growth money and streamlining federal and state grants, Schmitt said.

"The significant financial and program recovery of the district is the collaborative working relations between teachers, support staff, administrators and the board," Schmitt said. "It is evident the district is moving forward. Equity and integrity of the district is the working order of the day at HUSD."

Contact the reporter at ckniola@prescottaz.com