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“... the ADE is overreaching when auditors are making a decision on classroom instruction.
Casey O’Brien
School superintendent

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Schools out $210,000

State: middle school class isn’t really a class

The Payson school district has agreed to return $210,000 to the Arizona Department of Education for a program that district officials say helped students but that state officials didn’t count as a class. Auditors from the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) decided Payson schools state money spent on an innovative class that helped children who fell behind in school didn’t qualify as a class under state rules. “This began a little over a year ago when auditors from the ADE came to look at attendance issues,” said Superintendent Casey O’Brien.

School district faces computer ‘disaster’

Board approves new IT position to keep 1,200 computers from crashing

With little resistance, the Payson school board unanimously voted to increase staff in the Information Technology (IT) department after an alarmed Casey O’Brien threatened the school district would cease to function if the board did not beef up IT personnel. “I’m looking at an IT department of two people,” said O’Brien, “If this happens, our IT will fail.” Three years ago, seeing an opportunity to save money by combining two IT positions into one, the school district merged the IT director position with the student data reporting position, said O’Brien. Since that time, the network of computers at the district has increased from 700 to 1,200, and the IT department has limped along with a single staff member doing the job of two people, said O’Brien, Now she has been offered a higher paying job with a lighter workload in the private sector.

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