Although all of Sahuarita Unified School District’s schools are closed, all SUSD certified and classified staff will continue to receive compensation.

Brett Bonner, assistant superintendent for Educational Services, said while they are limiting those actually working on site to “essential staff,” no changes were made to the pre-approved budget which includes salary and payroll.

“Because of the state’s support for the employees working in schools experiencing closure we will continue to provide compensation to all employees and they are expected to perform to the best of their abilities their assigned tasks,” he said. “Right now, the state has not changed anything and is still honoring the approved budget allocation this fiscal year.”

To meet with guidance provided by state, federal and local agencies, the district is not having any meetings of groups of 10 or more people. The majority of employees are working remotely, except for several identified positions who will be working on site occasionally as needed.

At the district office, essential staff include five leadership positions including Superintendent Manny Valenzuela and Bonner, and a payroll employee.

Bonner said they also have a select number of maintenance personnel assigned to different school sites to continue weekly cleaning and sanitization.

In a March 18 communication to certified and classified personnel, the district explained that pay would continue.

“After careful evaluation of the many contingencies, the Sahuarita Unified School District will be able to pay EVERY SUSD employee their weekly compensation during the current closure, for both certified and classified staff,” the communication read. “This includes return-to-work employees through Educational Services, Inc. (Smart Schools +) and long-term substitutes.”

Employees will not need to submit sick time, personal time or vacation time.

Certified personnel are those who had to receive certification for their position, such as teachers, and classified personnel include those who did not, such as maintenance and custodial, cafeteria and transportation employees.

Continental School

Continental School District is also paying all employees through the closure, with those occasionally working on site limited to essential staff.

In a March 18 letter to parents, Superintendent Roxana Rico wrote that “all employees will be eligible and authorized to continue receiving their basic compensation and will be available and communicating remotely.”

Gov. Doug Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman both committed to ensuring school staff throughout the state continue to receive pay when they announced the closure of Arizona schools.


Reporter Jamie Verwys grew up in Sahuarita and graduated from the high school in 2006. She lives in Tucson and graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2018.