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5:52 AM Thu, Sept. 20th

HUSD school board gives go-ahead to research ag program

PRESCOTT VALLEY –Humboldt Unified School District (HUSD), at its Governing Board meeting Tuesday approved appointing an ad hoc committee to act on behalf of the district to develop an agricultural education program for Bradshaw Mountain High School.

As Superintendent Henry Schmitt evaluated the district's program offerings, agricultural education, which the district discontinued approximately two years ago, came to light.

"I looked at the value of an ag program and the leadership component (FFA) for students in our district," Schmitt said.

Schmitt, who met earlier with agricultural-based community leaders to explore the merits of an agricultural program, established a community exploratory committee consisting of Jeannine and Gary Young, with the "leg" work charged to Allen and Sarah Teskey and Danny and Kacie Tomer-lin.

Ms. Teskey and Ms. Tomerlin spoke to the board, citing their travels, connections and research data. "We've determined a definite need for an ag program at Bradshaw," Teskey said.

The community exploratory committee met and developed a rough sketch of a potential start up program consisting of courses such as environmental science, landscape design and installation, hydroponics, turf management and equestrian manage-ment.

"Our intention is to look at what Chino Valley has," said Schmitt, referring to Yavapai College's campus. "We don't want a program that is antiquated. We're looking at state-of-the-art agribusiness bioscience programs, like fishery, hydroponics and turf management that are available in the community."

Schmitt recommended the district move ahead to re-examine and reinstate a Career and Technical Agricultural Education program.

By a vote of 4-0, with Gary Marks absent, the board gave Schmitt approval to appoint an ad hoc committee of nine to 10 community members to act on behalf of the district and to officially pursue development of a pro-gram.

In other action, the board approved:

• Granting an easement to the Town of Prescott Valley at Liberty Traditional School.

• An increase of 1.0 full-time equivalent (FTE) English Language Learning (ELL) teaching position for the second semester of this school year.

• An increase of 0.5 FTE for two 0.5 FTE ELL teaching positions for the second semester of the 2003-04 school year.

• Long-term suspension of two Glassford Hill Middle School students for a Level V offense: possession and use of drugs.

• Hiring of 25 new staff and the in-district transfer of four staff.

• Boyce Macdonald as continuing board president and Victoria Bentz as continuing board vice president.

The next district board meeting will be Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. at Bradshaw Mountain High School West.

Contact the reporter at ckniola@prescottaz.com