In their ongoing efforts to promote transparency and community engagement, the Higley Unified School District (HUSD) is forming a citizen’s committee of community members, business leaders, parents, students and education officials to seek their expertise and leadership in understanding the district’s critical school funding issues.
“With 16 schools located in Gilbert and Queen Creek, we serve more than 13,500 students in one of the fastest growing communities in the country,” said Interim Superintendent Sherry Richards. “As we face a growing population and classroom and security needs, we are seeking community input on what an election might look like next year to provide needed revenue for school facilities and services.”
The A-rated district’s Maintenance and Operations Override, which funds teacher compensation, smaller class sizes, elementary special programs, gifted education, special education and other programs, was most recently passed in 2019 and will phase down after next year if not renewed. The district’s most recent bond was passed the same year and was used to build the classroom expansion at Higley High School as well as a field house at Williams Field High School and upgrades to safety and security across the district.
“The goal of the citizen’s committee is to have thoughtful dialogue and provide our district and our governing board with a recommendation that helps them make an educated decision on what critical needs should be addressed,” said Richards. “Engaging community leaders through a transparent public process will help to ensure that concerns from our citizens and voters are both understood and addressed prior to any possible ballot measure being put to a vote.”
The citizen’s committee will be made up of 15 community members – with each governing board member nominating one member and 10 members being selected by the district administration through an application process posted on the HUSD website. More information regarding the committee process and the application can be found at husd.org.
The citizen’s committee will meet regularly from January to March of 2024 to be briefed on key issues such as population growth, school funding, facility needs, technology and public opinion research. They will also tour school facilities. Committee members must live within HUSD boundaries, be a parent of an HUSD student or work for HUSD.
“We invite the entire Higley community to participate – parents, students, residents, business leaders and retirees to ensure we get feedback that represents the broad interests of our entire area,” said Richards. “Even if you don’t have kids in our schools, education impacts the quality of life of this community, so we ask everyone to join in and follow along. We are all in this together.”