Yuma board accepts $4.1M from STEDY
The Yuma Union governing board accepted $4.1 million in funds from Yuma County’s joint technical education district at its meeting Wednesday evening.
The monies pay for career and technical education offered and provided by Yuma County’s JTED, the Southwest Technical Education District of Yuma. The two districts that comprise STEDY are Yuma and Antelope.
Yuma Union plans to hire six more full-time equivalent instructors, said YUHSD Communications Director Eric Patten. The instructors will teach cosmetology at Kofa and Vista high schools, nursing at San Luis, music and audio production at Kofa; mental and social health at Vista and San Luis; and engineering at Ciobla, which will feed into a new drone program.
The full amount that the district was allocated is $4,111,412.02. According to information included with the agenda item, the district had a carryforward balance from fiscal year 2018 (which ends June 30) of about $2.8 million.
Patten said the district expects students to continue to seek out CTE programs. CTE programs have grown steadily since the inception of STEDY in 2015.
“We had more than 7,000 students enrolled in CTE this year and expect that number to continue increasing as we continue to fine-tune career interests of our students,” he said.
STEDY itself is expecting an increase in enrollment. Its proposed budget, filed Tuesday with the Arizona Department of Education, estimates its average daily membership to top 1,300 students.
Superintendent Gina Thompson reported that the district has been named a co-author in a report included in the Journal of Applied Juvenile Justice Services. It is the first time in recent memory that the district has been published in such a large-scale journal.
Thompson noted that the article about the case study has been an ongoing collaboration and partnership with the Yuma County Juvenile Justice Services Division
Thompson said that the program is designed to keep students moving forward “regardless of what might be in their case being worked up.”
“That one error or series of errors or just a bad spot in life — we don’t want that to keep our stu-
dents from continuing their academic involvement,” she told the board. “We are very committed at every single campus that if a student does something wrong behaviorally that we want them to know that they still have hope. That school is the answer to a better lifestyle and a better livelihood and better choices and we’re not tossing them away.”
The article, “High School Assignment Completion: A Case Study of a Collaborative Intervention in Detention,” details the collaborative intervention between the high school district and the Yuma County Juvenile Justice Services Division. The findings of the case study suggests that interagency collaboration contributed to youth academic success, according to a synopsis of the article.
Board member David Lara asked Thompson to recap a meeting at the Somerton City Council concerning the future high school in that city. The school district has been trying to procure pesticide covenants from property owners in the lots within a half-mile radius of the proposed site, which is on the west side of Somerton. The City and the high school district will be working together to find a solution, if possible, to procuring the final covenant, Thompson said. A meeting is planned next week with the new city manager.
In other news, the board also approved the sale of a series of bonds for the district. Julie Bice of Wedbush Securities and attorney Jim Giel of Gust Rosenfeld were on hand to answer questions about the process.
Chief Financial Officer Dianne Cordery noted that this is the second round of bond sales in a planned series that was approved by voters in 2015. The proceeds from the second sale will finish up improvement and construction projects, while the third bond sale will be used for the new high school in Somerton.
District administration also sought approval for a new grant writer position.
“I keep hearing that there are all these dollars out there for grants money and different things, especially in the area of school safety,” Thompson said, noting that it is a “huge commitment to research funds and write for them and then bring those dollars to the district.”
The position was approved on a 3 to 0 vote.