New Principal Withholds Proposition 301 Money Promised by Prior Principal

Phoenix, AZ (PressExposure) July 02, 2009 -- The 2008-2009 Imagine Bell Canyon teaching staff today publicly announced protest of a decision made by the school’s new administration to withhold more than half of the staff’s performance pay funded by Proposition 301. The announcement of the cut is in direct opposition to the original distribution plan, and is in breach of A.R.S.Section 15-977 A, which provides that the monies are to be allocated in compliance with the priorities of the principal.

According to public records, approximately $87, 255 of taxpayer dollars were designated to be used as performance pay for the 2008/2009 teaching staff. When the previous principal left the school the last month of the academic year for another opportunity, Linda Kiefner, a regional director for Imagine Schools, appointed herself as principal for the remaining 2008-2009 and upcoming 2009-2010 school year. During a final staff meeting under the old administration and attended by Mrs. Kiefner, the staff was told by the prior principal that once AIIMS testing was complete, she would return to continue consulting the task force regarding 301 distributions. Following the last day of school, Mrs. Kiefner dissolved the teacher task force, denied the prior principal’s ability to continue consult, and then drew up a new distribution plan releasing less than $25,000 of the previously promised proposition money.

“Mrs. Keifner has claimed that the teachers are limited to a figure listed in their contract. However, the previous administration explained this figure was not a cap, but an estimate only, since it was dependent on actual tax monies received and monies from past years still in the account.” said Brooke Hall, former Imagine Bell Canyon teacher and 301 Task Force member. “Ms. Kiefner has not distributed the prior years’ monies, nor has she distributed all of the current year money to the teachers that met and exceeded their academic goals for their students. Imagine Bell Canyon went from performing to high performing due to the outstanding efforts of these teachers,” continued Hall. “The teachers are requesting that the current principal follow Imagine’s philosophy of integrity, stand by the original decisions of the teacher task force, the prior assurances of their previous administration and disburse the remaining funds to the 19 waiting teachers.”

According to a joint memo by the Arizona Department of Education and the Auditor General, the teachers are eligible for “current … and any prior year’s unexpended performance pay balance and interest earnings.” The teachers have contacted the CEO Dennis Bakke to help resolve the matter; however Mr. Bakke, one of Forbes 400 richest people, has referred the matter back to the new administration.

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Press Release Submitted On: July 02, 2009 at 3:26 am
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