COVID-19 Information – Updated July 26, 2021

Join us for the Vail Governing Board meeting tonight at 7:00 HERE.


District Services

Where Are They Now?

Beyond Textbooks Logo

What is BT?

As Vail moved from a school district of 500 students to a school district of more than 13,000 students, we labored and at times struggled to pull together and articulate all the necessary resources to implement the mandated standards-based curriculum.

Thousands of hours have been spent by our staff unwrapping, prioritizing and calendaring standards, and developing delivery and assessment strategies. The sum of this work is a district-wide instructional program we call Beyond Textbooks (see below for a detailed description). It helped us receive Excelling school labels across our school district. Now it is available to you.

-Calvin Baker, Superintendent

Contact Us

Visit our website at beyondtextbooks.org.

Contact BT staff here.

Coming Together to Improve Education

  • Over 100 partners
  • Impacting over 148,000 students
  • 300 Professional Development sessions a year for over 10,000 educators
  • Over 40,000 digital resources

BT Map 7-1-17

Chinese Immersion In Vail

The Vail School District proudly offers a unique and exciting opportunity for students to learn a foreign language – Chinese.

The District was approached by the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona, and a partnership was established to provide immersion for students at Mesquite Elementary. Language immersion is an educational approach, especially effective for young children, that results in second language acquisition.

Mesquite Elementary School earned the Confucius Classroom status through the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona. More than 390 Confucius Classrooms have been established around the world. | Read More

For more information on Chinese Immersion, please contact: Diane Vargo, Mesquite principal at vargod@vailschooldistrict.org.

What Does Immersion Look Like at Mesquite?

Mesquite’s Chinese Immersion Program is a Partial Immersion Program as 50% of its instructional delivery occurs in Chinese and the other 50% in English. Students will learn math and science in Mandarin Chinese.

There are two teachers at each grade level of immersion who work together to deliver this model. One teacher teaches math, science, and language reinforcement in Chinese. The other teacher teaches ELA and social studies in English. Instructional time starts at 7:45 AM and ends at 2:15 PM daily.

This program aligns with the District’s practice to provide parents with choices regarding their child’s education.


What is Immersion?

Immersion language learning helps children to learn a new language in the same way that we all learned our first language by surrounding them in a warm and supportive environment in which they are encouraged to use the language for everyday communication.

It is an educational model that provides academic instruction in English and a target language such as Mandarin Chinese. The goals of dual language programs are for students to develop high levels of language proficiency and literacy in both program languages, to demonstrate high levels of academic achievement, and to develop an appreciation for and an understanding of diverse cultures.

In total immersion programs, children learn their entire core curriculum (language arts, math, science, and social studies) in the second language. Partial immersion programs are based on the same principle, but a portion of the curriculum is taught in the second language.

What are the benefits of an Immersion Program?

Language education that starts early and involves children in daily communication and content learning provides children the opportunity to develop a second language as naturally as they learned their first language.

Learning a second language prepares students to communicate with more people and to compete in a global economy, where proficiency in more than one language represents a significant advantage.

Students will learn:

  • Increased problem solving
  • Utilizes right and left brain hemisphere
  • Enhanced Cognitive Skills
  • Increased Cultural Sensitivity
  • Second Language Skill
  • Globally competitive

Why Chinese Immersion?

Chinese is spoken by one-fifth of the world’s population and is ranked number one among first languages spoken. Learning Chinese will open many career opportunities for individuals who can acquire native-like fluency.

China has the world’s fastest growing economy and the world’s 2nd largest economy. It’s the world’s largest exporter of goods and the world’s second largest importer of goods.

Research indicates students are best able to learn another language if they are exposed to that language at a young age especially through an immersion program. Our country is growing globally, our students are the business leaders of the future and being able to communicate in the world’s most widely spoken language will be imperative to success.

Which grade levels are accepting students?

While the program is now K-5, we are accepting Mandarin Chinese speaking transfer students pending screening and kindergartners. Later grades will be added as students progress.

How are the kindergarten students selected for the immersion class?

Parents of incoming kindergarten students are invited to attend an informational meeting held in the early spring. Applications will be available at our front office and online.

Is this a gifted program? Are students prescreened or can anyone apply?

The immersion program is NOT a gifted program. The immersion program is open to any interested incoming kindergarten student and prescreening is not part of the application process.

What are the entry requirements?

There is no formal criteria for enrollment into the program.

If you live outside the Mesquite service area, you will need to complete and submit an Open Enrollment application. Forms are available here and will be accepted between December 1st and April 1st.

Full day Kindergarten Chinese Immersion is a fee based program.

Kinder classes are established the spring before they begin. Contact the front office for further details at (520) 879-2102.

Work for Vail

More Employment Information

Employment Opportunities

Vail is located near the eastern border of Pima County, Arizona, in the heart of Southern Arizona’s Sonoran Desert Valley. Just a few miles to the West is the city of Tucson, the 34th largest city in the U.S.

Staff Recruitment

The Vail Unified School District is recruiting highly qualified and motivated teachers, professionals, and support staff.

Join an Award-Winning District!

The Vail School District serves 1,900 employees dedicated to providing quality education and related services to more that 13,500 students and their families.

Vail Employee Benefits

  • Excellent Benefits Package
  • 3 Medical & 2 Dental Plan Options
  • Vision Insurance
  • Arizona State Retirement System Participation with 100% District Matching Contribution
  • District Paid Life Insurance
  • Paid Sick Days and Personal Leave
  • Wellness Benefits-Employee Assistance Plan, Free Flu Shots, Free Mammography Mobiles

New Teachers Receive

  • Beginning Teacher Mentors
  • Comprehensive New Teacher Induction
  • Staff Development Program
  • Instructional Coaches
  • Incentive Opportunities
  • Performance Pay
  • Technology Driven Environment
  • Priority for Childcare Services

Vail’s mission and guiding principles pave our path, reinforce our vision and provide motivation for each employee to do their job to the best of their ability. The underlying belief is that fundamentally, people desire to serve and be part of a community effort, something larger than themselves.

Relocation Information

Tucson is a growing metropolis in southern Arizona that recently reached the 1,000,000 mark. The Vail School District encompasses 425 miles and almost 40,000 of those residents. The district boundaries extend to the SE corner of Tucson and all the way out to the eastern border of Pima County. Approximately half of the District’s students live in the City of Tucson; the rest in unincorporated areas.

The Tucson metropolitan area is well-known for mild winters, dry desert air, low annual rainfall, and sunshine about 360 days of sunshine a year, more than any other U.S. city! The winter temperatures are around 68 degrees during the day; with an average January low of 38 degrees. The average July high temperature is 99 degrees; however, the mercury can top 104 degrees during summer months. Annual rainfall averages about 12 inches per year.

While it may feel like a small town, don’t be fooled; Tucson offers many of the amenities of a larger city, including arts, sports, outdoor activities, and resorts. This region is a natural playground surrounded by four mountain ranges enjoy hiking, horseback riding, backpacking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. Tucson is also one of only 14 cities in the U.S. with a symphony as well as opera, live theatre, ballet, and a Jazz Society.

The Milkin Institutes Best Performing Cities index gives Tucson an overall enviable rank of 14 out of 200 metropolitan areas, based on economic performance and ability to create, as well as keep, the greatest number of jobs in the nation. The metro Tucson area offers many employment opportunities. The University of Arizona is the largest single employer with over 10,300 employees and is ranked among the top 20 public research universities, while Davis-Monthan Air Force Base employs 8,340. Other major industries include natural resources and mining, construction, missile manufacturing, health care, and government.

The Tucson Association of REALTORS calls the Tucson area a stable market with attractive appreciation. New housing prices are generally less than in other major metropolitan areas. Diverse housing options range from 100-year-old haciendas to trendy downtown Tucson lofts to family-friendly master-planned communities– there is something for every taste, lifestyle, and budget.

Additional Links

Cost of Living Calculator

Tucson Visitors Bureau

Things to Do in Southern Arizona

Arizona Vacation Travel Guide

Rental listings in Tucson

For sale listings in Tucson

North American Moving Services: Packing calculator, moving guides, checklists and moving quote

Would you like to be a Substitute or Volunteer?

Substitute Information

The following are needed to apply as a substitute teacher for the Vail School District:

Questions? Contact Brenda Ross, Substitute Coordinator at 520.879.2080 or email rossb@vailschooldistrict.org

Be a Volunteer

Thank you for expressing an interest in being a volunteer for the Vail School District. We understand how important you are to a child’s education and community spirit.

The Vail School District values and appreciates your time!

Click here to complete an online volunteer application.

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Current Employee Links

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Other Information

Employee Referral Incentive

Do you know a highly qualified, motivated individual who is looking for a great place to work?

Participate in the Vail Employee Referral Incentive Program and earn up to $500!

Refer an Occupational Therapist, Speech Language Pathologist, or Physical Therapist and you will be eligible for a $500 Referral Incentive payment.

Refer a special education teacher or high school math, high school physics, or middle school math teacher and you will be eligible for a $250 Referral Incentive payment.

Referrals for all other teacher positions will be eligible for a $150 Referral Incentive payment.

Referrals for bus drivers are eligible for a $200 Referral Incentive Payment.

Tell everyone you know to visit the Vail Schools website at Work4VailSchools.org to apply online for a teaching, OT/SLP/PT, or bus driver position and indicate on the application that they were referred.


Print this form and submit it to the Vail Human Resources Department

The Vail Employee Referral Incentive Program is open to staff currently employed by the Vail School District. District administrators and HR personnel are not eligible for participation.

New teachers and other professionals referred must sign their employment contract prior to an employee referral incentive payment is issued.

Contact the Vail Human Resources Department if you have any questions.
Ally Armenta, Human Resources Supervisor
520-879-2047  or armentaa@vailschooldistrict.org

Non-Discrimination Statement

Notice of Nondiscrimination

Vail Unified School District #20 does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, genetic information, or disability in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its educational programs or activities. Inquiries concerning Title VI, Title VII, Title IX, Section 504, and Americans With Disabilities Act may be referred to the Superintendent, John Carruth, Assistant Superintendent, Kevin Carney, 13801 E. Benson Hwy. Vail, AZ 85641, 520.879.2000.

Vail School District’s 504 Grievance Procedures can be found here. Print VUSD’s 504 Complaint Form.

Aviso de No Discrimination

El Distrito Escolar Unificado de Vail # 20 no discrimina a base de raza, color, origen de nacionalidad, sexo, edad, religion, information genética, o discapacidad en la admisión o acceso a Si usted tiene preguntas o consultas relacionadas sobre Titulo VI, Titulo VII, Titulo IX, Sección 504, y la Ley de Estadounidenses con Discapacidades puede dirigirse al Superintendente Sr. John Carruth, Superintendente Sr. Kevin Carney, 13801 E. Benson Hwy., Vail, AZ 85641 520.879.2000.

ADA Compliance

It is District policy to fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Vail Unified School District is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to its employees and applicants for employment in order to assure that individuals with disabilities enjoy full access to equal employment opportunities.

If you are disabled and would need accommodations to attend a hiring interview, please notify the hiring authority at the time you are contacted to schedule an interview.

District employees should contact their Principal or Department Supervisor if you believe a reasonable accommodation is required.

If you have any questions regarding District ADA Procedures, please contact:

Lisa Cervantez
Chief Administrative Officer
(520) 879-2062

District Policies

To view Personnel Policies for the Vail School District No. 20 you will need to click on the link below, find Vail Policy Manual in the left column and then click on Section G Personnel.


Maintenance Department

We the staff and tradesmen of the Vail School District’s Facilities & Maintenance Department are dedicated to maintaining the District’s facilities and grounds in order to provide a safe, comfortable, and accommodating learning environment for our students, parents, faculty, staff, and community.

We work behind the scenes and beyond the view of most casual observers maintaining, servicing, and repairing the many mechanical, electrical, structural, and architectural components of the education process. We are a small group of thirty individuals who, as a team, are responsible for the everyday operation and repairs of the District’s facilities.

Complete your maintenance request here.

Facility Usage

Thank you for your interest in renting facilities from the Vail School District.

School facilities are available for rent to public agencies and to responsible and properly organized community groups for the purpose of education, elections, and civic welfare. All requests must be made at least one week prior to the scheduled event/activity and are subject to the guidelines outlined in the Vail School District Facility Agreement.

NOTE: School-related functions and events take precedence over rental requests from outside organizations.

If you have any questions about facility requests, please contact Rene Aguilar at 879-2457 or at aguilarr@vailschooldistrict.org.

Print the Vail School District Facility Agreement and/or Energy and Room Rental Fees.

To complete an online facility request, click here.

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Custodial Department

The Vail School District custodial staff is committed to keeping and maintaining a safe, beautiful, and clean environment for all students, staff, parents, and community who make use of our facilities.

BSS Staff

Current Bids

Invitation for Bid #21-015-26 - Technology Related Repair Parts - Due Date: April 23, 2021

Invitation for Bid
IFB# 21-015-26
MATERIALS AND/OR SERVICE: Technology Related Repair Parts
RFP DUE DATE: April 23, 2021 TIME: 2 p.m., Arizona Time
SUBMIT BIDS TO: Calvin Baker Leadership Center
Attention: Tori Gamble, Purchasing Department
13801 E. Benson Highway, Suite B
Vail, AZ 85641

Print and/or View:

Invitation for Bid

Attachment A – Federal Funds Acknowledgement Form

Request for Proposal #22-002-27 - Website Redesign, Development, and Hosting Services - Due Date: April 22, 2021

Request for Proposal
RFP# 22-002-27
MATERIALS AND/OR SERVICE: Website Redesign, Development and Hosting Services
RFP DUE DATE: April 22, 2021 TIME: 2 p.m., Arizona Time
SUBMIT BIDS TO: Calvin Baker Leadership Center
Attention: Tori Gamble, Purchasing Department
13801 E. Benson Highway, Suite B
Vail, AZ 85641

Print and/or View:

Request for Proposals
Addendum #1
Addendum #2

Attachment A – Federal Funds Acknowledgement Form

Request for Qualifications #22-001-27 - Architectural Services - Due Date: April 16, 2021

Request for Qualifications
RFP# 22-001-27
MATERIALS AND/OR SERVICE: Architectural Services
RFP DUE DATE: April 16, 2021 TIME: 2 p.m., Arizona Time
SUBMIT BIDS TO: Calvin Baker Leadership Center
Attention: Tori Gamble, Purchasing Department
13801 E. Benson Highway, Suite B
Vail, AZ 85641

Print and/or View:

Request for Qualifications

Attachment A – Federal Funds Acknowledgement Form
Attachment B – Sample Contract between Owner and Contractor


The Purchasing Department must receive a vendor application and a W9 for every vendor before any purchase can be process. Please follow the instructions below. Any questions can be directed to the Purchasing Department, Tori Gamble 520-879-2028 or email purchasing@vailschooldistrict.org

*Be advised that a VENDOR will not be added without a completed W-9 form (to find the updated version, please click on the link listed below).

Please click here for the Vail Vendor Applicaiton. The W-9 can be obtained at the following IRS link https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf .

*Special Note: If this application is being completed for a bid or RFP, you must include it with your packet being submitted. It is a formal document to the solicitation.

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.


The District creates and revises the budget throughout the school year. Once the year is completed, the District will prepare an Annual Financial Report (AFR) that will reflect the revenues and expenditures that occurred during the fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). The format and submission deadlines for these files are governed by Arizona Revised Statues. The AFR is audited by the District’s auditing firm, Heinfeld & Meech (H&M). H&M then assists the District with the preparation of the Comprehensive Annual financial Report (CAFR). In addition to financial data, the CAFR contains financial analysis of District funds, a narrative with a description of the funds, District financial awards and demographic data. The AFR is also submitted to the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) where it is compiled with other information to create the Superintendent’s Annual Financial Report (SAFR).

The AFR is also submitted to the Auditor General’s Office who compiles information from all of the Arizona Districts. The Auditor General’s Office uses the information from the School Districts to create the Classroom Spending Report. This report compares the spending patterns and achievement of each District by Grouping Districts into peer groups.

View Arizona Department of Education Budgets and Annual Financial Reports

All of these reports can be accessed in the table below:



Initial planned expenditures of the District based on anticipated revenues and defined Budget Limits. This file must be submitted to the Arizona Department of Education by July 5.

FY 2021-2022 Proposed Expenditure Budget

FY 2021-2022 Proposed Budget Summary

Hearing Notification 7/13/2021






FY 2020-2021 Proposed Expenditure Budget

FY 2020-2021 Proposed Budget Summary

Hearing Notification 7/14/2020


FY 2019-2020 Proposed Expenditure Budget


FY 2019-2020 Proposed Budget Summary


The official adoption of the Proposed Budget based on input from the community during a Public Hearing. This file must be submitted to the Arizona Department of Education by July 15.

FY 2021-2022 Adopted Expenditure Budget


FY 2020-2021 Adopted Expenditure Budget FY 2019-2020 Adopted Expenditure Budget

The most current budget for the fiscal year which reflects any changes in revenues and/or expenditures. The final revision must be submitted to the Arizona Department of Education by May 15. There are some provisions for revising after the deadline.

FY 2020-2021 Adopted Budget Revision #1

FY 2020-2021 Adopted Budget Revision #2


FY 2019-2020 Revised Budget FY 2017-2018 Adopted Budget Revision #3

FY 2017-2018 Adopted Budget Worksheets

The actual revenue and expenditures completed after the end of the fiscal year. This file must be submitted to the Arizona Department of Education by October 15. There are some provisions for revising the file after the deadline.


Summary 2019-2020 Summary 2018-2019

The audited financial statements of the District completed with a narrative to help provide a greater understanding. This report is typically released in January of the following fiscal year.

FY 2019-2020


FY 2018-2019 FY 2017-2018

The Office of the Auditor General serves as an independent source of impartial information concerning state and local governmental entities and provides specific recommendations to improve the operations of those entities. Below you will find links to the Auditor General’s reports for the Vail Unified School District.FY 2019
FY 2018 FY 2017

Differentiation is the Key

The Extended Learning Program in the Vail Unified School District is designed to provide appropriate services for gifted students. Vail School District’s definition of a gifted student is a student who demonstrates an advanced learning ability whose needs cannot be met in a normal classroom placement without supplemental modifications. The program complies with Arizona State regulations regarding gifted students, and provides access and equity to students from the diverse populations represented within the district.

student working on ELP project

Our Common Language

The Vail School District is committed to providing a program for gifted students that is designed to aid in the optimum development of their intellectual, emotional and social abilities. Recognizing that gifted students have unique needs, in our schools, we offer programming that is challenging and offers a more differentiated curriculum. Modifications made in the curriculum for the gifted students will ensure they have mastered the standards and will provide extensions for students to perform, or highly perform on State standards. An integrated cross-disciplinary program approach is utilized, where the content is more abstract, complex, varied and accelerated.

Contact Us

Contact Gifted Director, Christine In-Albon @ http://ehs.vail.k12.az.us/staff/inalbonc


The Vail School District uses the Cognitive Abilities Test to determine gifted eligibility. vote for womenThe Cognitive Abilities Test measures thinking and processing skills in three ability areas: verbal, quantitative, and non-verbal. Testing occurs a minimum of 2 times per year at each site. To qualify for the gifted program, students must score in the 97th percentile, or above, in one of the ability areas. Parents are notified in writing of the testing results and placement. Upon parent request, students may be tested again using the CogAT after one calendar year has passed between testing dates. Parents may also test their child outside of the District and test results will be accepted as long as it is a State approved assessment. See the state approved testing link.

Gifted Programs

Elementary Gifted Programs

We are committed to providing differentiated, in-depth, complex and accelerated opportunities for our ELP students. Our Extended Learning Program provides strives to to maximize student learning, nurture creativity, develop and enhance leadership skills.

ELP encompasses:

  • Guiding students who have been identified as gifted through a different level of learning
  • Utilizing standards-based curriculum and allowing students freedom to explore a deeper level of understanding
  • Providing opportunities to think creatively, critically and deeply through the use of projects and discussions
  • Socializing with and relating to peers

If you would like information on our ELP program at specific sites, please contact:

Desert Willow and Cottonwood Elementary: Liz Bradshaw bradshawl@vailschooldistrict.org
Mesquite Elementary: Paula Maxwell maxwellp@vailschooldistrict.org
Acacia Elementary: Terri Nangeroni nangeronit@vailschooldistrict.org
Senita Valley Elemenatry: Margie Dautrich dautrichm@vailschooldistrict.org
Ocotillo Ridge Elementary: Ellen Samuelsen samuelsene@vailschooldistrict.org
Sycamore Elementary and Copper Ridge Elementary: Karen Kershner kershnerk@vailschooldistrict.org
Esmond Station: Jenifer Campos camposje@vailschooldistrict.org

Middle School Gifted Programs

We recognize the unique and diverse needs of our middle school gifted population. Â We strive to meet their needs through differentiation while supporting their social and emotional growth.

Our overarching goals and objectives for our middle school students are as follows:

  • think critically
  • question effectively
  • form connections and applications to real-world scenarios
  • take ownership of learning
  • communicate effectively

Programming at middle school embraces a well rounded, complex and varied curriculum. Our programming ensures our students are prepared for the rigors of high school and beyond. Program components may include the following:

  • Speech and Thetoric
         Art of Converation
         Socratic Seminars
         Rhetorical Analysis
  • Project Based Learning
         Passion Project
         Exit Project
  • Academic Writing
         PIECE (Point, Introduce, Evidence, Citation, Explain)

If you would like information on our ELP program at specific sites, please contact:

Corona Foothills Middle School: Mary Garcia garciama@vailschooldistrict.org
Desert Sky Middle School: Rebecca Frericks frericksr@vailschooldistrict.org
Esmond Station: Jenifer Campos camposje@vailschooldistrict.org
Old Vail Middle School: Kristina Laborin laborink@vailschooldistrict.org
Rincon Vista Middle School: April Hale halea@vailschooldistrict.org

High School Gifted Programs

Andrada Polytechnic High School
Coming Soon!
Cienega High School
Coming Soon!
Empire High School
Coming Soon!
Vail Academy & High School
Coming Soon!
Vail Digital Learning Program
Coming Soon!

About Us

Aramark provides the Vail schools breakfast and lunch program.

Fun Facts

School Meal Handbook

School Meal Account Information

  • The National School Lunch and Breakfast Program (NSLP) offered by Vail School District adheres to all federal and state regulations. All student meals served meet the USDA Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) guidelines.   For more information visit http://www.azed.gov/hns/nslp/
  • Free or Reduced School Meal Applications will be available after July 1 at:

Please remember that a new Free or Reduced School Meal Application must be completed every school year.  The free or reduced meal benefit becomes effective as of  the date the new application is approved.  Student meal accounts are charged the full price of school meals each day until the application is approved.  Any charges incurred prior to the application approval must be paid in full.

  • If your child had an approved application in the Vail School District from last school year, the benefits continue for the first 30 days of this school year.
  • It is the parent’s/guardian’s responsibility to ensure the student has money in his/her student meal account. A student meal account is delinquent if the account balance is negative.
  • Students in grades PreK-8 will not be refused a meal. If a student in grades PreK-8 has reached a negative student meal account balance equivalent to three (3) charged meals they will then receive an alternate healthy meal. The alternate healthy meal will be charged to the student’s meal account which will increase the negative balance.
  • A high school student will only receive a meal if their student meal account has a positive balance or if the student pays with cash.
  • Prices for school meals are set annually by the Vail School District in accordance with federal and state regulations. For more information regarding Vail’s School Meal Program:

Reimbursable Meals and Other Meal Purchases

Free Reduced Paid
Breakfast FREE $0.30 Full Price
Lunch FREE $0.40 Full Price
2nd Meal* Full Price Full Price Full Price
A la Carte/Snack Bar* Posted Price Posted Price Posted Price
Additional Milk $0.55 $0.55 $0.55

*Item can only be purchased if student has a sufficient positive meal account balance or pays with cash

For students with free meal status

  • A student who has qualified for free benefits will receive one free school breakfast and lunch every day.
  • Second meals, a la carte and snack bar items are available to be purchased only if the student’s meal account has a positive account balance or if the student pays with cash.
  • Families are responsible for student meal account balances and charges that were incurred prior to approval of free school meal benefits.

For students with reduced price meal status

  • A student who has qualified for reduced meal benefits and has a positive student meal account balance will receive one reduced price breakfast and lunch every day.
  • If a student in grades PreK-8 has reached a negative student meal account balance equivalent to three charged meals they will then receive an alternate healthy meal. The alternate healthy meal will be charged to the student’s meal account which will increase the negative balance.
  • A high school student will only receive a meal if their meal account has a positive balance or if the student pays with cash.
  • Second meals, a la carte and snack bar items are available to be purchased only if the student’s meal account has a positive account balance or if the student pays with cash.
  • Families are responsible for student meal account balances and charges that were incurred prior to approval of reduced price meal benefits.

For students with full price meal status

  • A student who is required to pay full price for breakfast and lunch will need to have a positive meal account balance or pay with cash.
  • If a student in grades PreK-8 has reached a negative student meal account balance equivalent to three charged meals they will then receive an alternate healthy meal. The alternate healthy meal will be charged to the student’s meal account which will increase the negative balance.
  • A high school student will only receive a meal if their student meal account has a positive balance or if they pay with cash.
  • Second meals, a la carte and snack bar items are available to be purchased only if the student’s meal account has a positive account balance or if the student pays with cash.

Student Meal Account Payments

Payments can be made utilizing the following options:

  1. Debit or Credit Card – Contact Vail Food Service – Michelle Gibson (520) 879-2015 or Mary Filip (520) 879-3913. There is not a fee assessed for this service.
  2. Online at http://www.mymealtime.com. You are required to set up an account if you do not already have one. Meal Time charges a convenience fee for transactions.
  3. Checks and/or cash are accepted at the school by the kitchen manager or cashier at the point of sale. Please make checks payable to: Vail School District.
  •  The District will send out low balance and negative account balance reminders by email two times per week.
  • Parents/guardians can request a restriction on the student’s meal account by emailing vailfoodservice@vailschooldistrict.org. You can restrict or deny the purchase of a la carte items, limit the daily transactions, or set a dollar cap on the student’s daily school meal purchases.
  • Payment by check should clearly indicate the account to which the funds should be credited, e.g., if a parent/guardian has multiple children at one school the payment must indicate which student’s account should be credited and the amount to be credited to that student’s account.
  • Payments will be applied to the purchase of the current day’s meal first, followed by payment toward the negative or delinquent account balance.
  • Personal checks will not be accepted from parents/guardians who have previously provided a check that was returned from their bank for any reason, including insufficient funds. If the parent/guardian with a returned check does not provide reimbursement in cash or by money order within seven (7) business days from the date of notice, the matter will be referred to District Administration.
  • The district’s school meal program is subject to federally mandated cost principles which state that bad debts, including losses arising from uncollectable accounts and related collection and legal costs are not allowed, meaning the school district is prohibited from extending a line of credit for a negative student meal account.

Notification of Low, Negative and/or Delinquent Student Meal Account Balances

  • Parents/guardians will be notified by email through the District’s in-house email notification system, when their students’ meal account has a low balance and/or a negative balance.
  • The District will also personally call the parent(s) or guardian(s) and/or send letters when the student’s meal account is negative or becomes delinquent.
  • If an account is negative at the end of the school year the negative amount will be rolled over to the next school year. The District may withhold a student’s grade or report card, at the principal’s discretion, until a negative student meal account balance is brought current.
  • Accounts that are delinquent by $35.00 or more and/or the parent(s) or guardian(s) have not responded to the district’s phone calls and/or letters will be sent a final written notice to bring the student’s meal account current.
  • Kitchen staff and school employees will exercise sensitivity and confidentiality in serving students who have a low or negative balance student meal account. No district employee or food service employee will subject a student to embarrassment or humiliation based on the balance of his or her student meal account. Communication regarding low or negative student meal account balances will only be discussed with parents/guardians.

Requesting a Refund

  • If a student is graduating or withdrawing from the District, parents/guardians may submit a written request to the district food service department for a refund of any money remaining in their child’s meal account. Please email vailfoodservice@vailschooldistrict.org.


Statement of Non-Discrimination

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.


De conformidad con la Ley Federal de Derechos Civiles y los reglamentos y políticas de derechos civiles del Departamento de Agricultura de los EE. UU. (USDA, por sus siglas en inglés), se prohíbe que el USDA, sus agencias, oficinas, empleados e instituciones que participan o administran programas del USDA discriminen sobre la base de raza, color, nacionalidad, sexo, credo religioso, discapacidad, edad, creencias políticas, o en represalia o venganza por actividades previas de derechos civiles en algún programa o actividad realizados o financiados por el USDA.

Las personas con discapacidades que necesiten medios alternativos para la comunicación de la información del programa (por ejemplo, sistema Braille, letras grandes, cintas de audio, lenguaje de señas americano, etc.), deben ponerse en contacto con la agencia (estatal o local) en la que solicitaron los beneficios. Las personas sordas, con dificultades de audición o con discapacidades del habla pueden comunicarse con el USDA por medio del Federal Relay Service [Servicio Federal de Retransmisión] llamando al (800) 877-8339. Además, la información del programa se puede proporcionar en otros idiomas.

Para presentar una denuncia de discriminación, complete el Formulario de Denuncia de Discriminación del Programa del USDA, (AD-3027) que está disponible en línea en: How to File a Complaint. y en cualquier oficina del USDA, o bien escriba una carta dirigida al USDA e incluya en la carta toda la información solicitada en el formulario. Para solicitar una copia del formulario de denuncia, llame al (866) 632-9992. Haga llegar su formulario lleno o carta al USDA por: (1) correo: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; o (3) correo electrónico: program.intake@usda.gov. Esta institución es un proveedor que ofrece igualdad de oportunidades.

Lunch Prices

Elementary Schools Middle Schools High Schools
Breakfast $1.10 Breakfast $1.25 Breakfast $1.50
Lunch $2.75 Lunch $2.90 Lunch $3.10

The price of a meal includes milk. Milk may also be purchased separately for children bringing their own lunch ($.55).

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Curbside Menus

Online Payment

Lunches may be paid for on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Online payment and student account information is available at https://www.mymealtime.com/signin.aspx. Questions may be directed to Mary Filip @ 879.3913, or Michelle Gibson @ 879.2015. You may also fax inquiries to 879.2078.

Free and Reduced Lunch

Complete a Free and Reduced Price School Meals Household Application. All questions can be directed to Mary Filip @ 879.3913, or Michelle Gibson @ 879.2015.

Catering Information

We invite you to enjoy our warm, friendly catering service.  To schedule an event, please call Aramark Food Service Department at 520.879.2081 or 520.879.2065.  You can also email parra-marco@aramark.com.

The catering menu is attached for your convenience.


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Collaboration is Key

      • Student doing class workSpecial Education staff partner with General Education staff to design instruction at their home school that meets student needs
      • Inclusion Specialists, Resource Teachers, Behavior Specialists and General Education Teachers work together with families to develop IEP goals with a focus on student achievement.
      • Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapist provide quality school based services as identified by the student’s IEP team.

Governing Board Policy IHB-R
Special Instructional Programs

Identification and Placement of Exceptional Students

Public Comment Period Open January 6, 2020 till April 10, 2020

Please send your comments to:

Kathleen McNaboe
Director of Special Education, Vail Unified School District at mcnaboek@vailschooldistrict.org

The policy can be viewed here. Select section I-Instructional Programs and then click on IHB-R.

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Our Common Language

Our Students

Special education teachers and paraprofessionals partner closely with general education teachers and members of the school community. We very much believe in a team approach to supporting students with disabilities. Given that we believe in this team approach, students who receive special education services are all our students. We all have ownership in providing services and supports that meet the individual needs of each student.

Assumed Competence

In Vail, we start with the assumption that all of our students are competent and capable of learning and engaging in daily activities at school. Doing this allows us to target specific areas where we need to provide support to students with disabilities. This also allows us to foster independence and appropriately challenge our students

Meeting Students’ Needs

Vail is unique in the sense that we provide services centered around what each individual student needs. For example, we do not have classrooms for students with autism. Instead, we provide what each individual student needs at their school.

Targeted Support

This phrase is closely tied to the idea of Assumed Competence. Students who need and receive support from paraprofessionals, peer mentors and other members of the school staff receive that support for very specific purposes. Assuming that students are capable of learning allows us to target the specific areas where each student needs support and allows them to be independent and demonstrate their strengths.

Life Skills Classroom

Our students receive instruction in several classrooms and locations on each campus. In Vail, Life Skills classrooms are available for targeted interventions and for teaching specific life skills on an as-needed basis.

Join Our Team

INACTIVE – Special Education Records

The Vail School District Special Education Office is in the process of destroying SPECIAL EDUCATION records for students who withdrew, transferred or graduated from high school four or more years ago.  We are required to notify parents or students, if they are 18 years or older, to give them an opportunity to review the records before they are destroyed.  If you believe that you or your child might have Special Education records and would like to review them, please contact Cindy Cahill at 879-2051 or email at cahillc@vailschooldistrict.org   

Otherwise, records are due to be destroyed on June 1, 2021.

Mental Health Guiding Principles



We respect all students and families and desire to make positive connections with them. Nurturing and safe school communities are the strongest commitment we provide to support mental health.


As a district we utilize PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports), which enables us to support all students.


Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

A Message from the Superintendent

John CarruthComing Soon…

John Carruth

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Curriculum and Assessment

In the Vail School District we have clearly identified what students will learn at each grade level. These topics of study are aligned with both the State standards and the State assessments. Testing does not exist as an isolated event. Rather, it provides teachers with valuable information to inform and guide instruction and provides students with an opportunity to show all that they have learned.

Assessment Calendars

Megan Cloud's Chimes

Professional Development

Vail is known throughout Southern Arizona both for the comprehensiveness as well as the quality of its staff development programs. Indeed, ongoing staff development is endemic to the culture of Vail, which takes pride in never settling for the status quo in educational practices.

Support Systems for Teachers New in Vail

First year teachers receive New Teacher Induction (NTI) along with Cognitive, Literacy, and Math Coaching. Second year teachers receive continued NTI and Cognitive Coaching.

New Teacher Induction Program
The New Teacher Induction Program includes a five-day orientation prior to the start of the school year and three ½ day inservices throughout the school year. The purpose of the induction program is to provide new teachers with information and support during their first year in the district. The program is also designed to introduce new teachers to the philosophy and mission of the district, as well as the people, policies, resources, and culture.

For more information about the New Teacher Induction Program, contact Megan Cloud at cloudm@vailschooldistrict.org.

Cognitive, Literacy, and Math Coaching
Cognitive Coaching All new K-12 teachers are assigned a Cognitive Coach. The Cognitive Coaching Program consists of three classroom observations each year for two years. Cognitive Coaching is intended to enhance intellectual skills, which contribute to educationally sound decision-making. Math Coaching All K-8 teachers and some 9-12 math teachers are assigned a Math Coach. The purpose of the Math Coaching Program is to provide support to teachers as they implement the balanced math structure into their classrooms. The Math Coaching Program consists of three observations in the classroom. Literacy Coaching All K-8 teachers are assigned a Literacy Coach.

For more information about Cognitive, Literacy, or Math Coaching, please contact Megan Cloud, Director of Professional Development, at cloudm@vailschooldistrict.org.

Leader Development

Leadership positions available for teachers include: Instructional Team Leaders; Cognitive Coaches; Literacy and Math Coaches; Curriculum Management Team; District Formative Assessment Team; Technology Advisory Team; Science Fair Coordinators; Art, Music, and P.E. Coordinators; Benchmark Review Team, and Curriculum Committees.

Teachers are also eligible for Educational Enrichment Plans (EEP’s) where they can create new programs to enrich students’ experiences. Further, teachers who are interested in pursuing a principal’s certification may do so through the NAU Vail Cohort.

Employee Educational Program (EEPs)

Certified staff members have the option of submitting Employee Educational Plans each year.

In order to be eligible for the program, participants must have been a teacher for 1 year in the district OR have at least 3 years of teaching experience.

The EEP process is as follows:

      1. Teacher submits EEP plan to principal at his/her school site in May.
      2. Principal approves EEP plan and sends on to the school site council OR rejects the plan and discusses modifications with the teacher.
      3. Site Council approves EEP plan and forwards to the Vail School District Governing Board.
      4. The Governing Board approves the EEP plan.
      5. A scoring committee that consists of 1 high school teacher, 1 K-8 teacher, 1 board member, and 1 administrator meets to score plans using a rubric.
      6. Teacher can receive up to 20 points for his/her EEP plan. [If a teacher has been in the district for five years, he/she may submit multiple EEP plans for a combined maximum total of 24 points.]
      7. Teacher receives $165.00 in Vail Voucher currency for every point awarded. Vail Vouchers can be used for any items related to the teacher’s job: conferences, classroom supplies, electronic equipment, and tuition for college degree programs are prime examples. Items purchased with Vail Vouchers are property of the Vail School District.
      8. Teacher can choose to opt-out of the “Vail Voucher program and take cash instead: $110 for every point awarded.

Full criteria and details about the EEP program can be found in the Vail School District Incentive Pay Packet.

In May 2007, 266 EEP plans were submitted by certified staff members in the Vail School District.

For more information about EEP Plans, refer to the Teacher Incentive Pay Packet or contact Connie Erickson at ericksonc@vailschooldistrict.org.

NAU Cohort

Certified staff members who work in the Vail School District can opt to pursue a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership and a Principals certification through Northern Arizona University. A cohort begins every year in August and classes take place at one of the school sites within the district. The degree consists of 10 classes. To help offset the cost, the district will pay for one class per year.

Staff members interested in the NAU Cohort should contact Debbie Hedgepeth, Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, at hedgepethd@vailschooldistrit.org

Ongoing Support Systems

      • Half Day In-Services at the Sites
      • District Level In-Services
      • Site Approved and Site-Funded Conferences

Opportunities for Classified Staff

Back-to-School provides opportunities for non-degree seeking staff to take classes for professional development. Classes are offered at Cienega High School and Empire High School. The Vail School District pays ½ the tuition.

For more information about the Back-to-School program, contact Megan Cloud, Director of Professional Development, at cloudm@vailschooldistrict.org.

Vail Classified Academy
Vail Classified Academy provides employees an opportunity to pursue an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts (AA). Classes are offered at Cienega High School. The Vail School District pays the tuition.

For more information about the Vail Classified Academy, contact Megan Cloud at cloudm@vailschooldistrict.org.

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Career and Technical Education (CTE)

To learn all about Career and Technical Education according to the Arizona Department of Education, please click here.

Joint Technical Education District (JTED)

JTED LogoJTED Mission Statement:

We deliver premier career and technical education in partnership with business, industry and community stakeholders.


Guiding Educational Philosophy:
Upgrading and enhancing existing courses and programs in participating districts.
Expanding the options and rigor of courses available to students.
Providing innovative training for students to enter the Southern Arizona workforce.
Providing a community resource to enhance career skills and improve employability options.

JTED courses are open to all public, charter, private, and home school students who are eligible to attend high school. You’ll find many opportunities to pursue your career and college goals at satellite locations on high school campuses throughout Pima County, at Pima Community College, and the Central Campus Learning Facilities, Programs & Classes.

Courses are available at little or no cost to students at various locations around Pima County including schools in our district:

Andrada Polytechnic High School
Cienega High School
Empire High School
Vail Academy and High Schoo

To learn more about the Pima County JTED, visit their website at http://pimajted.org

In the Vail School District, contact Noreen Hutchison, at (520) 879 – 2043 or email hutchisonn@vailschooldistrict.org

CTE Vision and Mission


Ensure a dynamic workforce by fully developing every student’s career and academic potential.


Prepare Arizona students for workforce success and continuous learning.

College and Career Readiness

College and Career Readiness provides a graduating high school student the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the education and/or postsecondary job training needed for his/her chosen career (i.e. community college, university, tech/vocational program, apprenticeship, or significant on-the-job training). An essential component of this outcome is for students to learn about their own interests and skills, career options, finances, and post-secondary learning options.

Thus, students should select a rigorous course load consisting of core as well as elective and/or Career and Technical Education subjects that are part of a well-rounded education. Students should also be engaging in multiple community and work opportunities which expand on their interests and allow them opportunities to acquire experiences that will guide them towards selecting a career.

At each of our high schools, VSD provides access to the courses, experiences, and supports needed for our students to succeed in their chosen career.

Print the Vail School District College Handbook.

Read more about Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards.

School Contacts for College and Career Readiness

Andrada Polytechnic High School
Aaryn Townsend

Cienega High School
Colette Alvardo

Visit our website at: https://chs.vailschooldistrict.org/Counseling/

Empire High School
Amanda Cook

Pantano High School
Monica Wright

Vail Academy and High School
Michael Gutman

Visit our website at: http://class.vail.k12.az.us/vahs-counseling/

Vail Digital Learning Program
Carrie Wrona

What We Do

Under the leadership of CIO Matt Federoff, Vail’s IT Department has grown from a handful of technologists to 28 full-time staff. Site technology coordinators provide technical and instructional support at each of our schools. Our district repair team keeps the thousands of devices on our network up and running led by supervisor Steve Lee. At the District Office, our Student Data Team protects the integrity of our student information and ensures that Vail gets full funding from the state for every enrollment. Our district web-master, Robbin Klinger-McGee works closely with multiple departments to keep our internet presence relevant, up-to-date, and beautiful.

Leader in Education Technology

Vail’s Technology Department has established a tradition of excellence that stretches across multiple decades. The number of ed-tech firsts that were created in Vail include:

1999 – Grades and Attendance online in real time (first in Arizona)

2003 – Wireless networking at all schools (first in Arizona)

2005 – Empire High School, Arizona’s first “1-1” laptop high school, and the first textbook-free high school in the US.

2008 – Beyond Textbooks Digital Content Initiative

2009 – Arizona’s first Bring Your Own Device initiative

2010 – WiFi Equipped school buses (first public school district in the world to do so)

2010, 2012 – Second and third 1-1 high schools opened

2013 – All Vail high schools provide 1-1 laptop for every student

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Vail’s Worldwide Technology Headlines

Vail technology has made the front page of the New Times not just once, but twice. Thousands of visitors from across the country and around the world have come to learn about Vail’s IT processes and leadership philosophy.

Countless articles have been written in various ed-tech journals regarding various Vail technology initiatives:

Digital Content and Curriculum Awards Announced

VUSD is Awarded the 2011 Sylvia Charp Award for District Innovation in Technology

As Classrooms Go Digital, Textbooks May Become History

WI-FI Turns Arizona Bus Ride Into a Rolling Study Hall

School Buses Now Take Wireless Internet For A Ride

Left To Their Own Devices

Free At Last

Students’ Prayers Answered: No Books

US school swaps books for bytes

About Us

The Vail Transportation Department consists of: professional drivers, caring bus monitors, certified mechanics, friendly office staff, and supportive administrative leadership. Each member of our team is dedicated to excellence and to providing safe and dependable transportation for students.

Our well-trained drivers and monitors work with routers and dispatchers to create and maintain a safe driving experience for each passenger. They understand that encouraging students through positive reinforcement, and providing a safe and consistent social environment on each bus, not only fosters trust, but also helps to provide a successful riding experience for students.

In Vail Transportation, we focus on making connections with our students to help them understand that we are an important extension of their community.  We are proud to be an integral part of a school district that has earned a distinct reputation for excellence. We embrace our support role in this shared effort to provide unparalleled service to the Vail community.

School buses are designed to be highly visible and are among the most safe vehicles on the road today. School buses have numerous safety features such as flashing lights, crossview mirrors, stop sign arms, and protective seating for passengers. School buses must pass rigorous crash standards and provide rollover protection features.

As the Vail community continues to grow, so will the Transportation Department. It will remain our mission to always provide safe and reliable transportation service to Vail students in the most efficient and cost-effective way.

Parent Information, Bus Rider Expectations, and Out of Zone Bus Riders

Parent Letter from Director of Transportation - June 18, 2021

June 18, 2021

Dear Parents/Guardians:

As we prepare for the 2021/2022 school year, I would like to provide some  transportation-related information that may be helpful to you.

Students who are eligible for transportation are assigned to a single bus route that is based on their home address. There are different procedures in place for students with special needs.

In accordance with Governing Board Policy, students who reside within a school attendance area are eligible for transportation when they meet the following criteria:

  • Kindergarten through 5th grade students residing beyond a one-mile radius from school of residence.
  • Grades six (6) through twelve (12) students residing  beyond a 1.5-mile radius from school of residence.
  • Students with disabilities who require transportation, as indicated in their respective IEPs.
  • Students living within a one-mile radius of the school where hazardous or difficult routes exist and where other arrangements cannot be provided.

EXCEPTIONS: There are few exceptions to the home address policy. Parents/Guardians would need to contact the Transportation Department to request an exception for a student to ride a route other than their assigned route. For example: A split household with both parents living in the district.

We are unable to make exceptions to transport students to alternate sites such as a grandparent’s  home, daycare, a babysitter or a friend’s home.

Any exceptions that were in place for last school year are no longer in effect. If you wish to request an exception for this year, please call the Transportation Department. Out-of-district students must have an exception prior to riding a bus route, even if they rode last year.

All exceptions for SY 2021/2022 will expire on the last day of the school year which is May 27, 2022.  

The new bus routes should be in place by July 9, 2021. Please call after this date and speak with either Gloria Stauff, 520-879-2056; or Leslie Incontrera,  520-879-2479.

Once the route updates have been completed, route information for your student(s) can be found at: infofinderi.com. Please note: the times listed for bus stops is the bus departure time and not bus arrival time. You may also access information from the Vail School District website. To find your bus stop, enter your street address, grade, school of attendance, and zip code. You will be given the bus route number and the departure and drop off times for the route.

We value your trust in us as well as your support in helping our drivers and department ensure the safety of our students. We wish all Vail parents and students a happy and successful school year.


Jerry Brown
Transportation Director

Frequently Asked Questions About Riding School Buses

What time should my student arrive at the bus stop?
Students should be at their designated bus stop location at least five (5) minutes prior to the scheduled bus departure time, and be ready to board the bus when it arrives.

What if my student’s bus is running late,  morning or afternoon?
Due to unforeseen circumstances, buses will run late on occasion. Parents are always welcome to call Transportation at 520-879-2475. Vail buses have been equipped with GPS trackers. Parents will soon be able to access real-time bus location information through a free parent app.

How are bus stop locations determined?
Stops are assigned by general locations of students and must meet specific State regulations for safety. Stops are often located within subdivisions near parks, common walls and retention areas, and must be at least 50 feet from an intersection and 100 feet from a lighted intersection.

I am not happy with my child’s bus stop. Can my child go to another stop?
No. For accountability purposes, your child must be picked up and dropped off at their assigned stop, thereby maintaining the safety of your child.

Is the driver allowed to leave small children at a bus stop if no adult is there to meet the child?
Yes. The parent is responsible for making sure someone meets the child every day. If a child is afraid or unwilling to be left at the stop, the driver will keep the child on the bus and continue on the route. The parent will be contacted and if necessary, the child will be returned to school.

My child is a kindergarten student. Must I be at the stop every time my child is dropped off?
Yes. For student safety, bus drivers are instructed to not let kindergarten students exit the bus without a parent or another listed guardian present. If no one is at the stop, the bus driver will take the kindergarten student back to school. With an approved transportation waiver form, another adult or an older sibling can be allowed to meet your kindergarten student at the bus stop.

My child splits time between both parents’ homes. How is transportation handled in this case?
Split households are accommodated when both parents reside within district boundaries and existing routes are in place. Both parents’ addresses must be on file in PowerSchool and Transportation should be contacted to request an exception.

On which occasions will the school issue a bus pass for my student?
Bus passes are issued by the school when you have a change of residence and your student is riding a new route; when your student comes in after the school year has already started; or when your student is getting off the bus at a different bus stop on their home route.

Is transportation available for my open-enrolled student?
To find the nearest available route for an open-enrolled student, please contact Transportation for assistance and to request an exception.

My child is assigned to a bus but I plan to drive my child to school every day. Should I tell anyone?
Yes. Please notify the Transportation Department at 520-879-2475.

Can students invite friends to ride the bus with them?
Only eligible students are permitted to ride the bus.

Can my student ride home on another bus?
Students are permitted to ride only their assigned bus. Any exceptions must be requested in writing by the student’s parent or legal guardian and approved by Transportation.

Can my child ride the bus to a babysitter’s home?
Transportation cannot take children to any type of daycare, babysitter, or grandparents’ homes.

If my child has a conflict on the bus with another rider, what should I do?
Let the bus driver know about the conflict as well as the school, so that they can work together to resolve the issue. Parents are always welcomed to call Transportation at 520-879-2475.

What are the qualifications for a bus driver?
A school bus driver must be at least 21 years of age, maintain a clean driving record, undergo drug and alcohol testing, pass a physical performance test, and obtain a Class B Commercial Driver License and Arizona school bus driver certification.

What training programs do bus drivers attend?
Vail bus drivers meet or exceed the minimum training requirements of the State of Arizona, which consist of classroom training, behind the wheel training, and first aid/CPR. They must also attend post-certification training, annual refresher training in a variety of relevant topics, and maintain minimum refresher training hours established by the State.

Why doesn’t the bus have seatbelts?
Large school buses are heavier and distribute crash forces differently than passenger cars do. The buses are designed with safety compartments that protect children by strong, closely-spaced seats that have energy-absorbing seat backs. All Vail School District buses meet all federal and state safety standards.

What kinds of safety checks are done on school buses?
Bus drivers perform thorough pre-trip inspections each morning and mechanics perform ongoing preventative maintenance in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. Vail school buses are regularly inspected by our own certified mechanics and annually by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Does the bus have special equipment on board?
Yes. All Vail buses have two-way radios which help drivers maintain contact with the transportation dispatcher in the event there are emergency situations or incidents on the bus. Additionally, all buses have camera systems that are used to monitor safety and security on buses. Buses also have real-time GPS systems that also allow for monitoring of bus locations, safe operations, and security. Parents will soon be able to access real-time bus location information through a free parent app.

Are there seating assignments on the bus?
Yes. Bus drivers create seating charts for all buses. Students are assigned to seats for safety and security purposes. Additionally, seating charts help with accountability and routing and also help familiarize drivers with their students.

Can my child bring food and drinks on the bus?
Students may not eat food on the bus. They may drink water while on the bus but other drinks are not permitted. No straws or glass containers are allowed on the bus.

Can my child bring a pet on the bus?
No animals of any kind, whether dead or alive, are permitted on the bus. This includes insects, reptiles, and classroom pets. Exceptions are made only for certified service animals that assist  passengers with disabilities.

What if my child leaves something behind on the bus?
In some cases, your child can retrieve the lost item from the bus driver the next time he or she rides the bus. Parents may also come to the Transportation Office to claim an item found on our buses. Contact Transportation at 520-879-2475 to report a lost item.

The Transportation Department is located at 13192 E. Mary Ann Cleveland Way, in Vail. The office is open to parents  from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Bus Rider Expectations

  1. Obey the bus driver at all times and follow all instructions given by the bus driver.
  2. Always be courteous to the driver and other bus passengers.
  3. Students are permitted to use only their designated bus stops. Any changes require a parent/legal guardian’s written request, counter-signed by a school official.
  4. Students are permitted to ride only their assigned bus. Any exceptions must be requested in writing by the student’s parent/legal guardian and approved by a school official.
  5. Students are asked to be at the bus stop 5 minutes prior to the scheduled pick-up time. Students are to be on time to the bus in the afternoon.
  6. When crossing a street by a school bus, always cross 10 feet in front of the bus.
  7. Students should stand a safe distance from the curb or roadway while waiting for a bus.
  8. School buses and bus stops are school “safety zones.”
  9. Always use the steps and handrails when boarding and leaving the bus.
  10. Sit quickly and quietly in the assigned seat and remain seated facing forward while the bus is moving. Do not get out of your seat until the bus has come to a complete stop.
  11. Students must not obstruct the aisle or emergency exits with objects at any time.
  12. Keep hands, head, arms, and all objects inside the bus at all times.
  13. Talk in normal tones; screaming, shouting, rude, vulgar, obscene or threatening language is not permitted.
  14. No eating, drinking (except water in plastic bottles), smoking, vaping, chewing gum, or spitting inside the bus.
  15. Keep the bus clean and free of damage. Parents/legal guardians may be held financially responsible for any damage or destruction to the bus caused by their student(s).
  16. Always identify yourself when asked by the driver. Secondary students are required to show their student ID card to the bus driver upon request.
  17. Skateboards, scooters, roller blades, balloons, and lasers are not allowed on the school bus.
  18. State law prohibits the following items on school buses:
    Alcoholic beverages
    Dangerous or narcotic drugs
    Glass items
    Legally prohibited substances
    Smoke or stink bombs
    Animals, insects, or reptiles
    Other dangerous objects

These expectations are taken from various regulatory sources including federal regulations and laws, Arizona state laws and regulations, DPS regulations, and Vail Unified School District policies.

Violations to the Expected Student Behavior-Bus Transportation Rules will have consequences that correspond to the severity of the misconduct. Consequences may range from written referrals to possible permanent suspensions from the school bus.Thank you for your cooperation in helping us to maintain a safe, respectful, and nurturing environment for all students.

Information for Out-of-Zone Bus Riders

Parents retain the opportunity to request attendance at any high school in the Vail School District.

The following information is solely for parents of students who wish to use school bus transportation to attend a high school outside their assigned transportation zone.

When parents elects to have their student attend a high school in a transportation zone, not in their home area, bus transportation is not automatically provided. In this case, riding a school bus is subject to qualification terms as described below:

  1. Parents agree to contact the transportation department to request and receive an exception prior to their students riding a school bus. Requesting the exception does not guarantee that transportation services can be provided.
  2.   Parents acknowledge that exceptions may take a day or two to review and process, and can be granted only if there are seats available on the bus.
  3.   Parents agree to be responsible for transporting their students to and from an assigned bus stop in the transportation zone for the school they attend.
  4.   Vail Transportation does not assume any liability for students once the bus has dropped them off at their bus stop.
  5.   Parents acknowledge that an exception can be revocable when the bus becomes full and no longer has capacity for students riding to a transportation zone not in their home area.
  6.   Vail Transportation will give preference to students who live within a transportation zone and attend the high school in that same zone.
  7.   Parents acknowledge that when an exception must be revoked, Vail Transportation will give as much advance notice as possible and make all reasonable efforts to find an alternate bus stop for a bus that has room for out-of-zone riders.
  8.   Parents agree to notify Vail Transportation if bus transportation services are no longer needed.

The transportation department will track and record all exceptions as part of route planning and execution, rider safety, and for State reporting purposes.

This Transportation Contract ensures that the following objectives can be met for all out-of-zone bus riders:

  •     Riders are committed to a single bus route and stop.
  •     Riders are accounted for on the bus driver’s student list.
  •     Accurate rider counts are done for state reporting and reimbursement procedures.
  •     Riders are reflected on seating charts, which are needed for behavior management, traffic accidents involving the bus, and contact tracing during COVID-19 exposures.
  •     Riders become familiar to new or substitute drivers.

Parents are asked to review and discuss with their children the Bus Rider Rules and Expectations found on the Vail School District Website, in the Transportation tab located in District Services. Additional bus rider information is available on the school district’s website in the Transportation tab that appears in the COVID-19 Information section.

School, Bus Route, and Attendance Boundaries

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Fun Facts about Transportation

  • There are approximately 120 staff in the transportation department.
  • Our drivers and buses cover over 8,200 miles a day.
  • We operate 50 regular routes and 18 special needs routes each day.
  • There are almost 1,900 bus stops in use throughout the school district.
  • We transport almost 4,000 students to and from school.
  • With seven certified mechanics, we maintain 90 school buses and dozens of school district vehicles.
  • We use over 300 new tires for our buses each year, and 260 tires a year for other district vehicles.
  • We have an in-house bus driver training program that can prepare trainees to become certified school bus drivers within 30 days.

High School Transportation Zones

Letter from the Assistant Superintendent - January 15, 2021

January 15, 2021

Dear Vail Families,

We believe in providing parents with choices. We have intentionally created high schools that are similar in quality but different in size and offerings. We also believe in being fiscally responsible. As we expand the number of high schools, we must take steps to control the increasing costs of transportation.

The purpose of this letter is to remind you of our 2021-2022 plan for Transportation Zones in order to continue to allow for high school choice while working to be fiscally responsible.

The Transportation Zone Plan:

Parents retain the opportunity to request attendance at any high school.

Students attending Andrada, Empire, Pantano, and Vail Academy and High School will NOT be impacted by the changes. In addition, students living in the “flex zone” and attending either Cienega or Mica Mountain will NOT be impacted by the changes.

Students living outside the flex zone and attending Cienega or Mica Mountain will be impacted. (Note attached map.)

  • A student living in the Cienega Zone and attending Cienega will be provided transportation. However, a student living in the Cienega Zone and attending Mica Mountain will not be provided transportation.
  • Similarly, a student living in the Mica Mountain Zone and attending Mica Mountain will be provided transportation. However, a student living in the Mica Mountain Zone and attending Cienega will not be provided transportation.

Transportation Zones will play a role in preference for high school choice. For example, a student who lives in the Cienega Zone will be given preference to Cienega over a student who lives in the Mica Mountain Zone and requests Cienega.

If parents are able to get their student to a Transportation Zone that will transport them to and from the school they attend, they will be provided transportation to Cienega or Mica Mountain.

If you would like to check your home address, and see which Transportation Zone you live in, please click on one of the links below.

Zone 1 – Cienega

Zone 2 – Mica Mountain 

Zone 3 – Flex Zone

In closing, thank you for selecting the Vail School District as the choice for your student’s high school experience. Please contact our Transportation Department (520-879-2475) or myself if you have any questions.

Kevin Carney
Assistant Superintendent

High School Transportation Zones

If you would like to check your home address, and see which Transportation Zone you live in, please click on one of the links below.

Zone 1 – Cienega

Zone 2 – Mica Mountain 

Zone 3 – Flex Zone

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Your Tax Dollars at Work Updates

The Vail Unified School District Governing Board has called for and election for a renewal of its current 12.5% budget override. The override will be on the November 2, 2021 ballot.

Below please note the public notice of the opportunity to submit supporting or opposing arguments that may be included in the Information Pamphlet for the Special Election on November 2, 2021.

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Board Meeting Notices

Physical notices of upcoming Board meetings will be posted at least 24 hours in advance and will be located in the window of the front office at the District office and of each school site. Electronic notices of Board meetings can be found here.