The HUSD will ask voters to approve a seven-year $2.8 million override on Tuesday, Nov. 5, which they hope will increase school safety by adding resource officers and counselors, as well as restore full-day kindergarten classes, music and physical education, and early childhood programs. Funds will also be used to reduce class sizes and to attract, and retain, quality teaching staff.
Business owner, mom and grandmother, Jeri Ann Kooiman said the override would provide a "band aid" for the district, but won't count as a permanent fix for HUSD schools.
Kooiman volunteers as chairperson for the HUSD PAC tasked with spreading the word on the override.
"I think the state should be ashamed of itself for how it handles education," Kooiman said. "We as business leaders, and citizens, and moms and dads; we need to step up and stop looking at education as a financial burden, but as the most important investment we could make."
Kooiman and other members have worked to inform voters on a grassroots level.
"Personal contact, really getting the word out so people truly understand what it is we're asking for and why we're asking for it, is important. We realize a lot of the voters are 55 and older. They've already raised their kids and a lot of them live on a very fixed income," Kooiman said.
More on the HUSD committee can be found online at http://voteyesforhusd.com.
"The state of Arizona has cut Kindergarten through 12th grade funding 21.8 percent in the last five years. We've had to eliminate counselors in the middle schools, we have no counselors, which is an age where they are critically needed," Kooiman said.
Cuts have also been made to music and physical education programs, she added.
Kooiman also believes class sizes need to be reduced, particularly in lower grades.
"We have more than 30 in most classes," she said. "We also need to retain teachers and staff. Teachers come in and decide it's not good stewardship to come in and try to raise their families here. The average teacher spends about $1,000 out of their own salary in the classroom every year on supplies, snacks and what have you."
Often, she said, quality educators will move to the Phoenix area and make $10,000 a more, or out of state where they can earn $20,000 more a year.
"An M & O override is for salaries and benefits," Kooiman said. "It would be for hiring more teachers and giving the teachers a little more of a raise.
The Chino Valley Unified School District, meanwhile, is seeking approval of a 20-year, $9.9 million bond on Nov. 5. Funds could be used for outdated computer equipment, a dilapidated bus barn, 30-year-old buses and more.
Veronica Morrow, president for the CVUSD political action committee, said bond money would also be used for construction of an advanced computer lab for college preparation, additional classroom technology, replacing worn heating and cooling systems in schools, repairing and improving athletic fields, repairing existing wells and preparing for two new wells.
"We need water. That is a major issue for us," Morrow said.
Bond money will also be go to remodel and convert the west gym into a performing arts and community facility.
"This will actually replace the old bond, but it's half the amount of the old bond," she said. "We tell people the property taxes are going down, because it's actually replacing the other bond. The bond itself is really not going to affect the community."
Many of the buildings run on swamp coolers, Morrow said, which tend to provide little relief in the hot summer months.
"That's been a major issue, because some of the time they don't even work. It's been really bad in that regard," she said.
Unlike the Prescott community, where signs have sprung up against the bond and override, Morrow said the Chino Valley community has been supportive of the effort overall.
"We did a public forum last Tuesday. There were no nay-sayers there," Morrow said. "Everyone was given an opportunity to come up and voice their opinion."
Besides newspaper articles and public meetings, the CVUSD committee is also sending out direct mailers and engaging in social media campaigns.
"As of last weekend we started knocking on doors," Morrow said. "One of the things I tell everybody is to make sure they've educated themselves on what we're trying to accomplish and make sure they have the different options on where to get that information."
Watch dCourier and The Daily Courier's print edition Sunday for more about Prescott's bond and budget override proposals.
Posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
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No need for override of budget. Arizona Supreme Court ruled 2 weeks ago that the Legislature must give schools an annual funding increase to account for inflation, The high court upheld a voter approved law requiring the Legislature to provide annual inflation adjustments to schools. For this school year that increase is estimated at $82 million.
you can google information by typing in Az Supreme court ruling on school funding