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home : latest news : local December 17, 2014

10/7/2013 7:57:00 AM
Humboldt, Chino Valley school districts make bond/override case
Chino Valley High School’s athletic field jumper pit and cracked running track are among the many items in a state of disrepair in the district.
Courtesy photo
Chino Valley High School’s athletic field jumper pit and cracked running track are among the many items in a state of disrepair in the district.
Courtesy photo

Patrick Whitehurst
Special to the Tribune

Besides a Prescott bond and override election, school issues are at the forefront for the Humboldt Unified School District (HUSD) and the Chino Valley Unified School District (CVUSD).

The HUSD will ask voters to approve a seven-year $2.8 million override on Tuesday, Nov. 5, which they hope will increase school safety by adding resource officers and counselors, as well as restore full-day kindergarten classes, music and physical education, and early childhood programs. Funds will also be used to reduce class sizes and to attract, and retain, quality teaching staff.

Business owner, mom and grandmother, Jeri Ann Kooiman said the override would provide a "band aid" for the district, but won't count as a permanent fix for HUSD schools.

Kooiman volunteers as chairperson for the HUSD PAC tasked with spreading the word on the override.

"I think the state should be ashamed of itself for how it handles education," Kooiman said. "We as business leaders, and citizens, and moms and dads; we need to step up and stop looking at education as a financial burden, but as the most important investment we could make."

Kooiman and other members have worked to inform voters on a grassroots level.

"Personal contact, really getting the word out so people truly understand what it is we're asking for and why we're asking for it, is important. We realize a lot of the voters are 55 and older. They've already raised their kids and a lot of them live on a very fixed income," Kooiman said.

More on the HUSD committee can be found online at http://voteyesforhusd.com.

"The state of Arizona has cut Kindergarten through 12th grade funding 21.8 percent in the last five years. We've had to eliminate counselors in the middle schools, we have no counselors, which is an age where they are critically needed," Kooiman said.

Cuts have also been made to music and physical education programs, she added.

Kooiman also believes class sizes need to be reduced, particularly in lower grades.

"We have more than 30 in most classes," she said. "We also need to retain teachers and staff. Teachers come in and decide it's not good stewardship to come in and try to raise their families here. The average teacher spends about $1,000 out of their own salary in the classroom every year on supplies, snacks and what have you."

Often, she said, quality educators will move to the Phoenix area and make $10,000 a more, or out of state where they can earn $20,000 more a year.

"An M & O override is for salaries and benefits," Kooiman said. "It would be for hiring more teachers and giving the teachers a little more of a raise.

The Chino Valley Unified School District, meanwhile, is seeking approval of a 20-year, $9.9 million bond on Nov. 5. Funds could be used for outdated computer equipment, a dilapidated bus barn, 30-year-old buses and more.

Veronica Morrow, president for the CVUSD political action committee, said bond money would also be used for construction of an advanced computer lab for college preparation, additional classroom technology, replacing worn heating and cooling systems in schools, repairing and improving athletic fields, repairing existing wells and preparing for two new wells.

"We need water. That is a major issue for us," Morrow said.

Bond money will also be go to remodel and convert the west gym into a performing arts and community facility.

"This will actually replace the old bond, but it's half the amount of the old bond," she said. "We tell people the property taxes are going down, because it's actually replacing the other bond. The bond itself is really not going to affect the community."

Many of the buildings run on swamp coolers, Morrow said, which tend to provide little relief in the hot summer months.

"That's been a major issue, because some of the time they don't even work. It's been really bad in that regard," she said.

Unlike the Prescott community, where signs have sprung up against the bond and override, Morrow said the Chino Valley community has been supportive of the effort overall.

"We did a public forum last Tuesday. There were no nay-sayers there," Morrow said. "Everyone was given an opportunity to come up and voice their opinion."

Besides newspaper articles and public meetings, the CVUSD committee is also sending out direct mailers and engaging in social media campaigns.

"As of last weekend we started knocking on doors," Morrow said. "One of the things I tell everybody is to make sure they've educated themselves on what we're trying to accomplish and make sure they have the different options on where to get that information."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Article comment by: Still Waiting

Gary - where are those facts?

Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2013
Article comment by: @ Granville Gran

Your comment here is deliciously ironic considering your tirade about HUSD turning out rude, loud students.

Hmmmm...... Make up your mind. Is HUSD supposed to teach manners or not?

And your stance on early childhood education has been disproven over and over again with numerous studies. Not only does early childhood intervention increase a child's potential for success in their academic career and in life - it saves tons of money by doing that very thing.

Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Article comment by: Granville Gran

We do not need early childhood school programs. Our schools are not nannies or parents.

It is not up to the schools to fix all societies problems. Education went down hill big time when schools tried to play nanny.

Educate. That's all. Stay out of things that are better handled outside of a school.

Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Article comment by: @ Gary Dean

Please demonstrate (with facts), not hyperbolic, uninformed nonsense how HUSD has not been spending money wisely.

Thank you.

Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Article comment by: Gary Dean

You want an "override". Then what are you going to ask for when that money is gone? Another override?. Money doesn't grow on trees folks. Start spending wisely, this is not the Federal Government.

Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Article comment by: Tori Kendall

The pool issue was well over 3 to 4 years ago. It was not last year. In 2010-11, the district decided NOT to build it because of the very reason that you mention.

The "surplus" you speak of was not a surplus, It was funds that were leftover from the B bond. The district managed to spend less than they intended and still had B bond money that needed to be spent. B bond money can only be spent on facilities and infrastructure by law. That money could not be spent on anything that this override will cover - all of which are in the maintenance and operations budget.

Finally, HUSD is asking for an override not a bond.

Everything you stated is false or based on misconceptions.

As a citizen, people should educate themselves and make decisions based on facts and not false statements such as were made in this comment. Ask questions and do some research before you decide to check yes or no n the ballot.

Posted: Monday, October 14, 2013
Article comment by: Tori Kendall

That was not just last year and that was money leftover from a B bond which, by law, can only be spent on facilities.

The voters approved a B Bond, HUSD spent the money efficiently and effectively and there was leftover and they were trying to figure out what to do with it since how it could be spent was VERY limited and which could not be given back to voters.

Please become educated on these issues. Many people are raising fair and understandable questions but they need to hear the answers. Please contact the district, visit the district webpage or come to one of the public speaking engagements.

Posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Article comment by: Deputy Sheriff

It was just last year I sat in the Prescott Valley Library and listened to HUSD ask to take a $200,000 surplus to build a pool which they had no plan on how to maintain. Tax dollars are being spent foolishly. I will vote no to the bond.

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