Thursday, October 15, 2009

Early ballot time - School District Budget Override

While I'm going to refer specifically to the one in Scottsdale (since, you know, I live there :) ), there are many such override elections taking place all over the state.

Well, an early ballot arrived in the mail a couple of days ago for the November 3, 2009 election. Some cities, such as Phoenix and Tucson, have City Council campaigns in progress; others have just a school district budget override on the ballot.

In Scottsdale, the election concerns the renewal of an existing K-3 override that was voted in 2005. It was (and is) targeted toward keeping class sizes down to manageable levels; if the lege doesn't provide funding for all-day K, it will be used to help cover the costs of that. Scottsdale Unified School District's information page on the override is here.

According to information from, this override won't raise anybody's tax bill (since it is already in place). The net effect on the tax bill of a $250,000 home is $12.60. The median home price in Scottsdale is $331K, according to this website. (I can't guarantee it is precisely accurate, but it seems right).

That's less than $17 per year at the median price.

Is $17 per year worth it for all-day K and manageable class sizes during the years that students benefit the most from individualized attention?

When Jim Lane, Mayor of Scottsdale, and Rick Kidder, President of the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce can agree on something (they aren't agreeing on much of anything these days), that something may just be a good idea.

Still, neither one is exactly known for having the best long-term interests of Scottsdale at heart (Kidder wants his members to make money above all else, and that can lead to a narrow vision of "tourism and only tourism is the right economic path for Scottsdale" and Lane wants to turn Scottsdale's charter into a Goldwater Institute ideological petri dish), so maybe that isn't necessarily true.

Of course, the fact that four of the best legislators in the state - State Senators Meg Burton Cahill and Carolyn Allen, and State Representatives Ed Ableser and David Schapira - support this makes this one a slam dunk -

Vote yes.

BTW - information on the Tempe schools override is here; informational pamphlets for all Maricopa County school bond/budget override elections can be found here.

I can't speak to all of the districts, but most of the ones that I'm aware of (all both of them - Tempe and Scottsdale) are worthy of support, especially in this time of draconian cuts to education and human services by the legislature. In some cases, such as Tempe, funds are needed just to maintain basic infrastructure, lest the next time a school's roof collapses, there are students under it.

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