Murphy Elementary School District in Phoenix facing major financial problems

PHOENIX - With new leadership at the head of the Murphy Elementary School District, the community, teachers, and students are hoping answers will be found to district money problems.

The school’s superintendent, Jose Diaz, retired last week. The board president, Richard Polanco, resigned.  

Leaving the district with no money, teachers were concerned about losing their jobs after spring break. Parents and students are wondering if they will have a school to go back to after the holiday.

At Monday night's board meeting, Raymond Rodriguez, a member of the board for 39 years, was elected the new board president. 

“My concern is the community, the students, and the teachers,” he said. 

But there are still questions about what plan the board will pursue to pull the district out of this hole and to assure teachers get paid. Several of them spoke at the board meeting saying that they are concerned and that they need direction. 

“In all my years of teaching I’ve never experienced such disappointment in a school district,” said Renee Castelburry, a teacher in the district. “It definitely hurts me, what are we to do?”

"I tell you, it is completely heartbreaking," said teacher Jeanette Martinez. "Our kids come first and I don't think they have come first for a few years now. They come first and I think we have failed them in that area."

Several community members also spoke out saying they are working with state and county officials to step in and help solve this issue to get the teachers back to work and teaching their students. 

State Senator Catherine Miranda is trying to buy the district time and find the money needed to keep doors open through the end of the year.

"There has been mismanagement of money, poor leadership, and it has led to a decision of receivership," Sen. Miranda explained. "It could be in 30 days or it could be in June. "

Another public meeting will be held at the district office on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

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