Why does SUSD keep asking us for money?
Let me give it to you straight. Our beautiful state of Arizona is 48th lowest in the nation for funding our public schools. Each of my kiddos receives $4,415 less than the national average for their education each year. That’s $57k less throughout their K-12 education. Take that in for a moment.
Now, it may feel like we’re constantly asking for yet another budget increase, and that’s because the legislature continuously puts us in a position in which we have to beg our friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers to continue funding our schools every seven years as the bonds and overrides expire.
Concerned parents, teachers and residents work for months, knocking on doors, handing out fliers and giving our time and energy. Why do we do it?
Because we know our children and community are worth fighting for. We know they haven’t done anything to end up at the bottom of the barrel in funding, and last we checked, there is no award given out for last place in school funding.
So we rally our troops, often campaigning a year in advance to cover our butts.
So that we aren’t forced to experience yet another year where specials are cut, school days are shortened, learning subscriptions expire, science classes with outdated experiments, sports teams with damaged equipment, bands with broken instruments, or playgrounds with torn shade structures.
SUSD did the right thing in asking for an additional 2% on the budget increase this year. They have felt the ever-so brutal hit of inflation with rising costs for everything from building materials to curriculum.
The additional cost to homeowners is based on the value of our property and equates to an average increase of only $4.15 per month per homeowner. That’s less than the price of a pumpkin latte each month.
While canvassing, I’m sometimes asked, “But Shea, I don’t even have kids in our public schools. Why should I be paying for their education?”
I see their concern. Why should they have to pitch in and help kids that aren’t their kin? Well my personal believe is that there is no such thing as other people’s children but if you don’t share that philosophy then my response is; I challenge you to ask any Realtor what will happen to your property value if Scottsdale schools decline due to volatile funding.
Research shows a direct correlation to declining property values in communities whose neighborhood schools lose their coveted A+ rating. School ratings go up; property values go up. School ratings go down, and property values quickly follow suit.
The Scottsdale Realtors Association knows this all too well, which is why they are one of the biggest financial supporters of the override campaign. Property values are what puts bread on their tables for their families, and it’s crystal clear to them just what’s at stake with this election.
In a fair and just world, all students in Arizona would benefit from the same resources that Scottsdale students enjoy, but sadly they don’t. It takes time, money, and expertise to run a campaign every seven years, and many communities don’t have the resources to do it successfully. The lost funds negatively impact their communities, which you can see from the school ratings and property values across the state.
Please continue to fund our schools. It’s the right thing to do for our communities.
Editor’s Note: The Independent welcomes all points of view. Email your opinions, pro or con, to AzOpinions@iniusa.org.