Sun Lakes Rotary speakers focus on CUSD

Dr. Matt Strom

Dr. Matt Strom

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On Tuesday, September 12, Dr. Matt Strom, Asst. Superintendent of Instruction at the Chandler Unified School District, will discuss how they have developed a detailed strategic plan in order to guide the district towards the goal of becoming the best public school district in the nation. His office evaluates student achievement data, student enrollment data, survey data, teacher evaluation data, principal evaluation data and a variety of other data to aid in monitoring the progress of the strategic plan in order to fulfill the vision of the district.

Dr. Strom has been in education for 19 years. He has served as a mathematics department chair and mathematics instructor, teaching courses such as Calculus I, Calculus II, Calculus III and Differential Equations. Recently, he started looking at student achievement data through a cartographic lens that allows the viewer of the map to draw their own conclusions about the effects of housing and environments on the schooling process.

On Tuesday, September 19, Lana Berry, CFO of School Finance at Chandler Unified School District, will discuss her office’s responsibility for accounting, financial reporting, budget control, transportation, food and nutrition, risk management and auditing functions of the district. Lana Berry has served as the chief financial officer at CUSD since 2013. She is a graduate of Colorado State University and a certified public accountant. Interesting stuff!

On Tuesday, September 26, Jim Bishop, Override Chair for Chandler Unified School District, will talk about override. So, what is override? An override is a mechanism which allows voters in a school district to approve additional funding for operational expenses for its schools. The override would allow the district to exceed its budget by 15%. If approved, the election authorizes an increase for seven years, but funding is reduced beginning year five. The term “budget increase” is used on the ballot. The Chandler School District has been operating under a 10% override since 1989.

The Public Education Finance Report shows that Arizona funds schools at 48th in the nation. Arizona funds its schools based on the number of students and the miles that students are transported. It is formula-based funding, and a school district’s budget limit does not increase or decrease if the assessed value in the district changes. Arizona provides a specific dollar amount per student for maintenance and operational expenses (salaries, benefits, supplies, services, utilities) and for capital (furniture, equipment, technology, vehicles, textbooks, library books, instructional aids). The capital allocation has not been fully funded for four years.

The Rotary Club of Sun Lakes meets for breakfast every Tuesday morning at 6:30 a.m. in the Oakwood Country Club Ballroom. The meetings start at 7:00 a.m. and end promptly at 8:00 a.m. Cost of breakfast is $12. To make reservations for any meeting, contact Rotarian Fred DePrez at 480-892-7499. For Sun Lakes residents, if you want to know more about the club, contact Charles Loew at 602-721-3680. SunBird residents should contact Walt Mills at 480-883-8007 or take a look at the club’s website,