GESD raises price of extended day programs
Landmark Middle School social studies teacher George Colebrook, left, holding his daughter, Madison Rose, was surprised at the April 10 Glendale Elementary School District Governing Board meeting when Jacque Arnold presented him with the John J. Ross Memorial Award in recognition of his work in the group’s Project Citizen program.

Parents whose children take part in Glendale Elementary School District’s Extended Day program will be paying a little more next school year for the before- and after-school activities.

Governing Board members at last week’s regular meeting, increased the cost of the program by $1 per day for non-school days and 25 cents per hour for school days. The cost of non-school day weekly rates increased as well, from $90 to $95 per week. Sibling and employee discounts will see the same incremental increases.

District officials also approved a recommended increase in school lunch prices, from $1.25 to $1.50 for student meals, and from $2.25 to $2.50 for adult meals.

Director of Food Service Barry Leimkuehler said the last price increase was in 2003, after no increases for more than 20 years.

Even though 84 percent of district students qualify for free- or reduced-cost lunches, Leimkuehler said, “Raising the price will begin to close the gap of the per-meal cost and will be acceptable to our district auditors and the Arizona Department of Education.”

In other business, several teachers protested recent changes in district office staffing at the cost of school positions.

Heika Smith, a music teacher, said she was ordered to the district office earlier in the week to be told her contract would not be renewed. Smith expressed concern about how her departure would affect her students.

“(Students will think) there goes another teacher who didn’t care enough to stay with us for more than two years,” she said. “I have been proven worthless in the eyes of administration. It hurts to leave.”

Smith went on to question new positions.

“One of them would pay for me and another music teacher. There will be more casualties before this is over,” she said.

Later in the meeting, following the approval of seven more new job descriptions, Governing Board President Steve Johnston and Superintendent Sandra Johnson, disagreed with teachers’ assessment of the situation.

“These are not necessarily for new positions. Some are title changes and some are replacements,” Johnson said. “Overall, there is a reduction in positions.”

Johnston said, “A school district is very much like a corporation. When you look at any change in leadership, which happened a year ago … (we knew) she would analyze the school district and reorganize to meet our goals. No new monies are being spent here. There is an overall reduction in funds.”

In other business, Jody Arnold from the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services presented Landmark Middle School social studies teacher George Colebrook with the John J. Ross Memorial Award for excellence in law-related education. Colebrook was recognized for bringing Project Citizen to his students.

Reach the reporter at or 623-847-4611.