Education is not cheap.
Unless kids are expected to learn on their own, it is up to taxpayers to fund public schools.
Around the state, voting continues for positions ranging from the president of the United States to state representatives.
Education funding appeals by districts are on ballots across Arizona.
In the West Valley, voters will decide on requests totaling around a quarter billion dollars.
For its nine schools, the Avondale Elementary School District requests a continuation of the existing 15% override. If approved, the $5.1 million override would cost the owner of a home with a limited property value of $123,470 (the average value of a home in the district) approximately $139 per year, according to ballot information.
The AESD voter information pamphlet includes 10 arguments in favor of the override.
“The success of any community always depends on a few foundational pillars. One of those crucial pillars is the strength of the education system and in these times of many unknowns with the pandemic, it is important to ensure quality education remains,” wrote Mark Grochocki. “Renewal of this maintenance and operations override will not increase taxes and will ensure these successful programs continue in AESD. Voting ‘yes’ will ensure the resources needed to provide the educational opportunities our children and community deserve.”
“Please help this amazing district continue to provide the very best for our children and vote yes on the maintenance and operations override,” wrote Andrea Diaz, a parent.
Avondale Mayor Kenn Weise, Councilwoman Michelle Hess and U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva-—as well as Arizona State District 19 Sen. Lupe Contreras and Reps. Diego Espinoza and Lorenzo Sierra—also urged voters to approve the override.
No arguments against the AESD request were submitted.
High School District
With four schools in Buckeye and Goodyear, Buckeye Union High School District is asking residents for an $87 million bond for classroom additions, classroom remodels/expansions, student technology, transportation vehicles and athletic facilities renovation.
According to Buckeye Union ballot information, “The tax impact over the term of the bonds on an owner-occupied residence valued by the county assessor at $250,000 is estimated to be $148.98 per year for 26 years, or $3,873.48 total cost.”
The Buckeye Union voter information pamphlet includes letters of support from a dozen elected officials and community members in Buckeye and Goodyear.
“Supporting our schools needs to continue to be a focus of our community. Student enrollment growth continues to come to the Buckeye Valley and our school facilities need to be ready to meet the demand of current and future students,” wrote Sherry Saylor.
“The Buckeye Union High School District needs our support in November to pass a bond election that will provide new classroom facilities, renovate aging buildings and systems and continue to provide technology to our students.”
“Our community has invested prior bond dollars to create a beautiful campus, and without the support of future bond dollars, that investment may not be protected,” argued Kristen Ahlstrom, a Buckeye Union board member.
“... The upcoming bond election for Buckeye Union High School District contains additional classroom space, the remodeling of existing classrooms, continued student technology investment and other health and safety projects. We want to meet the needs of our student needs for the next decade.”
No arguments against the Buckeye Union proposal were received.
With six schools in Buckeye and Goodyear, Liberty Elementary School District is requesting a continuation of the existing 10% override of about $2.4 million. According to ballot information, “The estimated continuation cost of the full override to an owner of a home with a limited property value of $168,170 (the average value of a home in the district) would be approximately $136 per year.”
The voter information pamphlet notes no arguments against Liberty’s request received, while a dozen submitted support for the measure.
“This override is not a new tax. Rather, it renews an override that has been in place since 1983,” wrote Joel John, a Republican candidate in Legislative District 4. “If approved, the override will enable the district to continue providing full-day kindergarten, art, music (a subject I formerly taught), and Physical Education, as well as maintain low class sizes.”
To those who don’t have kids in school, Vic Peterson noted: “When my children were in school, I was grateful for the support my local community extended to educate my children. Now it’s our turn to give back and help educate our community’s children.”
Unified School District
For its four schools in Buckeye and Tonopah, Saddle Mountain Unified School District is asking for a continuation of the existing 10% override. The estimated continuation cost of the full override to an owner of a home with a limited property value of $116,650 (the average value of a home in the district) would be approximately $20 per year.
The Saddle Mountain voter information pamphlet includes a dozen letters of support, with no opposition.
“Over the past several years, we have seen an unprecedented growth in our school district. Although growth is good for our district, it also brings some challenges,” wrote John Waid. “As a district, we absolutely need to pass this override to continue to offer the programs we have and add new programs for our students.”
Added Cindy Cabriales, “As a parent in the Saddle Mountain Unified School District, I can attest to the quality education our children receive, that the district makes decisions in the best interest of students and that they spend their tax dollars wisely. ... Now more than ever before, Saddle Mountain needs your help in renewing the existing budget override. If renewed, the district will be able to keep full day kindergarten, fine arts, athletics, technology, career training and extra-curricular activities.”
For its four schools, the Tolleson Elementary School District asks voters to continue the existing 15% override. The estimated continuation cost of the full override to an owner of a home with a limited property value of $85,510 (the average value of a home in the district) would be approximately $101 per year.
While there were no letters of opposition, the voter information pamphlet contains a dozen letters of support for Tolleson Elementary’s override, including one from a local business owner.
“As a business owner in Tolleson, there is nothing more important than preparing our children for college and to be our future business leaders,” wrote Curt Keesler of Pete’s Fish & Chips.
“The override pays for full-day kindergarten, art, physical education, band and other educational programs. The business community has long supported our local schools and I am asking for your continued support of Tolleson Elementary School District,” he added.
High School District
With seven schools in Avondale, Glendale and Tolleson, the Tolleson Union High School District requests a continuation of the existing 15% override. The estimated continuation cost of the full override to an owner of a home with a limited property value of $106,100 (the average value of a home in the district) would be approximately $95 per year.
According to the voter information pamphlet, no letters against Tolleson Union’s request were received.
The pamphlet includes a dozen letters of support from businesses and elected officials.
“As the mayor of Tolleson and a former educator, I continue to support investing in the success of our children,” wrote Anna Tovar. “... This renewal enables the district to maintain extracurricular activities, athletic programs, the performing visual arts program, retain teachers and staff and prepare students for college and career success.”
Tovar added, “The Tolleson Union High School District is educating tomorrow’s leaders, which is vital to remaining competitive in the local and global economy.”