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Opinion

Ryserson: Arizona children deserve better than 48th in the nation

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Maybe you are aware that Arizona is 48th in the nation in per-child education funding. What I didn't appreciate is that being 48th in the nation means that public schools in Arizona receive half the national average per child in educational funding, $7,000 vs. $14,000 respectively. Arizona children deserve better than that. Until the Arizona Legislature prioritizes funding education at the levels that our children deserve, we as local communities must vote yes in
support of overrides every year they are on the ballot to close that significant funding gap.

The average household cost of the M&O override in Scottsdale is $173.78 annually. This $0.48 per day signals to the children of Scottsdale that we believe in them and want them to succeed and tells our teachers that we value them and the work that they are doing. Education is the most important investment we can make in each generation.

Access to free, high-quality education within a child’s neighborhood directly correlates to their performance in post-school years, higher employment rates, higher earning potential and increased life expectancy. We aren’t just setting them up for today, we are underwriting their collective tomorrows.

Less than 40% of mail-in ballots in a non-election cycle are returned. That is an abysmal statistic, but one that we can easily change. If you are within SUSD, please reach out to your neighbors – especially the ones without school-aged children – and remind them to check their mailbox for the ballot, to vote yes and to return the ballot asap. If you are out of the district, please reach out to people within SUSD to check in with them as well.

We cannot assume that people will vote yes. Join me in doing the work now to guarantee the override passes.