Opinions

Finnegan: Vote 'no' on Litchfield district override

Posted 10/12/21

The Litchfield Elementary School District (LESD79) and many other school districts in Maricopa County are addicted to 30 years of continuous school overrides. This current 2021 school …

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Opinions

Finnegan: Vote 'no' on Litchfield district override

Posted

The Litchfield Elementary School District and many other school districts in Maricopa County are addicted to 30 years of continuous school overrides. This current 2021 school override request of $9.4 million, to be voted on election day November 2, 2021, will allow the district to continue exceeding its budget by 15% for an additional seven years, while more than 43% of its student population is not proficient in math and English today.

The public school system is well funded:

  • Since the year 2000, Proposition 301 (a 0.6 cent sales tax on consumer purchases) has generated $667 million per year for schools. It has been extended by Ducey to the year 2041.
  •  In the spring of 2018, the Red for Ed teachers strikes demanded and received a 20% increase in teacher pay. Gov. Ducey responded with a $648,000,000 per year teacher pay raise plan of 20% by 2020.
  • In 2019, due to Covid -19 school closings, leftover/unused maintenance and override funding surged to over $500 million.
  • In 2020, a federal Covid-19 stimulus of $4 billion was given to the Arizona K-12 system. LESD79 is receiving $11,072,445!
  • Proposition 208, a proposed state income tax, may soon further fund the schools if passed.
  • 58% of our total taxes go toward schools and education.

The school districts have spent countless time, money, and resources producing an equity plan and defining equity, according to Ibram X. Kendi and continued financial support for education has impeded educators’ ability to teach academic skills and not focus on ideological theory.  Money for the public school system is not the answer.

Our taxpayer generosity is becoming a liability to the public schools. They will continue to absorb vast resources, without any significant improvement in academic performance. If the override is not approved, the district will begin a three-year plan to phase out the current 15% override by July 2025. This will allow them plenty of time to become fiscally more responsible.

Michael Finnegan
Goodyear 

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