SHOW LOW — The Show Low Unified School District (SLUSD) board held a regular meeting on April 14 and invited the public to speak during the call to the audience portion of the meeting. The board heard from several concerned parents, teachers, and staff.

Among the speakers was Show Low High School English Teacher Tyler Adams. He discussed financial issues in the district that he previously raised with the board during a study session in January 2021.

Adams said on Thursday that he still has concerns about district financial issues, and the board did not address questions raised last year, specifically, the money that he considers lost or misplaced by former Business Manager Greg Shubert.

“You granted me an investigation because I asked questions that could not be answered at the January 2021 meeting. Carrie Ramsey at SLHS helped me as a co-colleague, and you assigned Superintendent Shad Housley and Business Manager Venessa Beecroft to do the investigation on themselves,” said Adams.

He suggested that the total amount of the money in question is still unknown. He wondered if there was a point during Schubert’s employment that Superintendent Housley suspected there were issues with Schubert’s performance. Adams also asked if the former manager’s personnel evaluations were available.

Adams wasn’t the only other speaker unhappy with SLUSD. Janell Sterner, a representative of the grassroots organization called Citizens for the White Mountains (CWM), brought up several concerns. She described safety problems regarding kindergarten students riding the bus with high school students, drugs in schools, vaping in the bathrooms, and cameras in some SLUSD buildings.

“Teachers put up with student profanity, throwing furniture and objects,” said Sterner.

Due to the SLUSD Board President Stacy Anderson changing the speaking time from three minutes to two, Sterner could not complete her statement. A member of the SLUSD board told her to send her additional comments by email.

Jill Stoddard, a concerned parent, said, “SLUSD is a toxic place of employment” and blames the administration for the present culture. “When I say admin, I specifically mean superintendent Housley,” said Stoddard.

After the public comments, the gallery erupted in applause, and several people stood up to show support.

SLUSD board member Kelly Boyer called for a future special meeting to discuss several of the problems brought up in the call to the audience.

“It’s time we start looking into it, and we as a board start taking it seriously and try to learn from those who brought information to us. I want to set up a meeting with the concerned community members in our district,” said Boyer.

The board scheduled the special meeting for Thursday, April 21, at 6 p.m. According to SLUSD board member Brandt Clark, the meeting will be a town hall-style meeting.

Anderson interrupted the discussions about the meeting and asked Clark to move on, because the board’s attorney was waiting.

Clark responded to Anderson and said, “She’s OK, we are paying her, and we have people here who want to speak, and they should be allowed to speak.”

“They can come to next Thursday’s meeting and do that,” replied Anderson.

The board then went into executive secession for several hours to discuss agenda items relating to personnel matters regarding resignations and staff approvals. The Independent picked up the balance of the school board meeting on Facebook.

The meeting resumed with the Business Manager Venessa Beecroft, asking for additional audit support with a new position called a compliance specialist.

“Nothing was tagged or tracked for six years, and we have gone six years with a business manager who knew nothing about finance,” said Beecroft.

Housley asked for motion 5.8 to be approved, which consisted of administrative staff approvals for the 2022-23 school year. The list of administrative staff included Housley and several others.

“I’ll make a motion to approve the administrative staff with the deletion of Housley. We’re going to have a board meeting next week, and we will be discussing that at that time. So, I motion to approve without his name,” said Boyer.

The Independent reached out to Housley, and he replied by email, “my name was deleted from the list of staff to be approved because my contract was approved in January,”

The SLUSD auditor Eric Taylor with Heinfeld and Meech accounting firm appeared by Zoom and described several SLUSD federal and state compliance audit issues, saying that “it wasn’t one of the best audits.”

SLUSD was allegedly not compliant with filing deadlines for the Arizona Auditor General and a federal body called a clearinghouse which is involved in the process. The issues regarding deadlines were reported to the Arizona Department of Education and at one point, SLUSD received an extension until the end of September due to the COVID-19 pandemic but missed that deadline.

It might be noted that in February 2021, the SLUSD office caught fire, and Taylor said that “One of the reasons the filing was late was due to the fire at the SLUSD District office, and employees had a hard time finding information.”

A hearing was scheduled on March 28 to address the SLUSD matters, but the hearing didn’t proceed because Taylor wrapped up the audit on March 7. He explained that across the board, SLUSD had 80 findings of non-compliance in the Uniform System of Financial Records for Arizona School Districts (USFR). The 2019 audit had 40 issues of non-compliance.

“The issues are across the board,” said Taylor, including the district overspending on monies intended for basic maintenance and operations (M&O), the classroom site fund, material internal control issues over bank and cash reconciliations, and significant issues with capital assets.

The following steps will be an examination of the audit and the USFR, and the district will have 90 days to perform a corrective action plan.

The SLUSD special meeting will be held on Thursday, April 21, at 6 p.m. at the Show Low High School gym.

The full SLUSD school board meeting can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/ShowLowSD/videos/966430017391724

Reach the reporter at rlynch@wmicentral.com

(3) comments

fishinguy

Knowing a few former teachers I hope they attend the Thursday meeting and get to tell there story. They left for all of the nonsense going on at the top. Like when they attempted to enforce policy and board members disreguard them for doing what policy says. The school district needs a private audit not from the inside but an independant one. Afew board memebers maybe should step down and get some new replacements. I mean come on tax payers lets get right.

wills1016

Sounds like the board president also need to be replaced. It time we take control from a board who will continue to ignore the parents of this district.

Russ_in_WML

what happened to the $12 million bond? need an accounting of that as well

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