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Prescott Valley Tribune | Prescott Valley, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions August 27, 2015


9/18/2013 10:44:00 AM
Letter: Bond override cost too high for seniors

Editor:

Wake up seniors here we go again. School Supt. Paul Stanton wants us to vote on a 10 percent budget override. I guess he doesn't understand that all we got was a 1.7 percent increase for the last three years on our social security.

He states that it will only cost $90 dollars if your house's assessed value is $100,000. Well, if you live in Pronghorn Ranch, Viewpoint, Quailwood, Glassford Hills, or StoneRidge your average tax cost will be closer to $180.

Questions you should be asking are how much of our tax money was spent on re-doing the new football field at Bradshaw Mountain High School West?

How much of our tax money are  we spending to support Bradshaw High School East, built with bond money 11 years ago and to date has not had a full high school class going to it.

The average amount of tax money paid to our schools and community college equals $898 per household each year - just take a look at your property tax bill.

That is a heck of a lot of money. It is time they learn to operate on the same budget that we all have to each year.

I for one am tired of supporting a high school that graduates students that only have a 62 percent math proficiency. That means 38 percent of those kids couldn't figure out how to calculate all the new taxes the county and the Town of Prescott Valley put into play as of June 1. Oh well that's another story. I for one am voting NO.

Dave Strozewski

Prescott Valley

(Editor's Note: The Town of Prescott Valley does not have a property tax.)


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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Article comment by: Been There Done That

I've been through this before where we formerly lived and voted for it due to the clamoring "its for the kids." WRONG MOVE! Next we see wasteful spending Bean Counters with the District justifying transfers of money elsewhere, sudden finds of monies and frivolous expenditures taking place. We were stuck with the tax increases for years even when the economy went south. I'm sick and tired of getting nickel and dimed. I look at the various charges on my electric bill for example. My actual charge for electricity used is $65.00 a month. Yet taxes, fees and service fees bring the bill over $150.00!! These charges are justified because I have an account, there is a charge, then a charge to deliver, an environmental benefits charge, a system benefit charge, power supply charge, metering charge, meter reading charge (done by computer)Federal transmission charge and cost adjustment charge just to name a few. Then add the sales taxes!
Everyone finds a crafty way to pull monies from the local tax payer. The Board of Supervisors set tax rates each year to make sure the county doesn't fall short in operational cost by law. You can appeal and good luck with that. I have to live within my means and have no one to run to for more money. The well is running dry-No is my answer.


Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Article comment by: Arizona Great-Grandmother

I am ashamed to say that I am even associated with some of the elderly "whiners" who live on their social security. I also must watch my pennies since it is my only income. However, I am more than happy to vote YES for anything to help educate our young people in these days of cut-backs, and losses of good teachers. Who paid the taxes for YOUR children? Who paid to make sure that they received the classes and activities they deserved, from excellent teachers and administrators? I feel sorry for all of you cry-babies who can't arrange to pay the small extra amount needed each year for the benefit of the children in our districts. Think of someone else for a change, and quit pulling the "old" card! I am 80 and plan to vote YES.

Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Article comment by: Cynthia Miner

As a recent retiree and full time resident of Yavapai County, I am proud to say I support both HUSD and PUSD Bonds and Overrides. Yes, it is an additional tax hit and yes schools should be receiving necessary funds from state and national resources or from lottery money, but they are not. So on behalf of our teachers and students we need to step up, bite the bullet and make this happen. We can throw accurate and inaccurate facts around all day, but in the meantime we need to take care of the education of our youth...our future! I am voting YES!

Posted: Sunday, September 22, 2013
Article comment by: Tori Kendall

I am going to respond first as a citizen and fellow taxpayer and secondly as a teacher.

First, in regards to your comments on M&O and what is can be spent on. In plain english it is the funds that can be used to support the main functions of a school - which is teaching. It is the money that can legally be spent of most things that impact the classroom. 85% of what directly impacts students. HUSD plans to restore school resource officers and counselors to the middle schools, restore programs that were cut such as PE, full day kindergarten, reduce class sizes which have increased over the last 5-7 years and take some actions to retain staff. We are bleeding great teachers. They are leaving. We need to keep them.

If you don t believe that all of those things do not directly impact the children I would love to hear your explanation.

districts across the state have lost numerous other sources of funding, including soft capital. There has also been a reduction in the base of per-pupil funding. The school facilities board is gone. M&O is having to offset these areas.

If you compare local districts to state and national averages ALL of the districts have below average administrative costs. That is fact. Check it.

Local taxes are only a part of the big picture. Any increase at the local level is only an attempt to offset what the state has done. You can be angry, but direct it towards your state representatives.

In the meantime - this has to be done. We cannot afford not to. I value not only the kids, but the local economy and property values. Look at the big picture.



Posted: Saturday, September 21, 2013
Article comment by: HUSD Parent

We are all certainly able to vote any way we choose, but Arz Grandma has left out some key facts:

-From 2008 to 2012 Arizona has cut education funding by 21.8%, the most in the nation. This is an undisputed fact from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

-The budget numbers presented by Arz Grandma do not include the elimination of soft capital money (textbooks, software, library resources) at $3.5 million or the reduced unrestricted capital at a $1.2 million loss or the elimination of building renewal money at a loss of $3.1 million or the elimination of full day K at a loss of $1.1 million.

Be sure to see the whole picture before making a decision.


Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013
Article comment by: David Strozewski

To answer a few statements made: I agree new teachers can not afford to live here, either can retired people that haven't had kids in school for over 35 years, when you have property taxes equal to almost a quarter of your social security income,how did this happen,, well our great county supervisors every year have increased the primary and secondary tax rate per $100 assessed value during a time when house values where dropping off the cliff and doing the same where the Fire District, the school district and all other taxing bodies, so that they wouldn't take a big hit in loss tax monies. As far as Aim scores, that is easy just look them up on Arizona state Aim scores, you will see that grade 10 scores show 62% and just 3 years ago a low of 38%. in math at our high school. Also remember 10th grade is the last year Aim's test is given. Two ways to solve the problem turn all public schools to private schools let those that have kids pay for them. It has been done in many towns. Or make our state use the lottery money as it was suppose to be used and that was to help support the schools, that is what we voted for over 25 yrs ago, the money is divided between many programs now and that was not how it was sold to us to get us to vote it in, the big push back then was HELP OUR SCHOOLS, VOTE YES

Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Article comment by: Arz Grandma

Oh yes....let's NOT forget that even without a vote of the taxpayers, the district increased their tax rate for this year. Last year, the tax rate was $5.1380. (In 2009, it was only $3.8829.) This year your tax bill will show a rate of $5.6400.

I don't see any 20% decrease there either. It looks to me like the district is getting plenty of community support.

If this increase is allowed to happen, next year the tax rate will probably top $6.00 just for the local school district.

My vote will be NO.


Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Article comment by: Arz Grandma

There is nothing about HUSD that is 21% less than it was five years ago. In 2008-09, out of their M&O fund, they spent $31,614,753. During 2012-13, out of their M&O fund, they spent $29,476,567. That’s only about a 7% decrease in expenditures. In 08-09, they had 18 administrators for 12-13, they had 17…not a huge decrease considering that in 08-09 they had 5,987 students but in 2012-13 they only had 5,539 students. My vote will be NO.

Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Article comment by: PV Taxpayer

Let's start by clarifying what the election is really about. The school district is asking for an "M&O Override" so they are asking the voters to go over their budget limit in M&O only, by 10% every year for the next 7 years. The M&O fund is where the district pays for their maintenance and operations costs. Period. This fund has nothing to do with buildings except for the salaries of the staff who maintain the buildings. So, removed the UNDER-used Bradshaw East campus from this discussion and let's talk about the override.

My vote will be NO.


Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Article comment by: Tori Kendall

Forgive the typos. I know they are there and it was a long day that is just winding down. Tired=typos. The message is what matters at this point.

Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Article comment by: Tori Kendall

rI am saddened by these remarks and I am frustrated by the blatant inaccuracies.

First, I do understand a tight budget and working with a fixed income. I am a teacher in HUSD and ironically, we probably relate best to your predicament and concerns.

Secondly, East campus was NOT built with local taxpayer money. It was built from funds from the school facilities board, which no longer exists because the state eliminated it. While they were also eliminating soft capital and reducing funding in numerous other ways.

Secondly, east campus is being utilized. When enrollment dropped and we did not have the student numbers needed to support it the district evaluated their situation and decided how best to utilize the campus. They discovered it would be more fiscally responsible to utilize that campus for SEVERAL functions and they rented out the old district building to try to generate some revenue.

To say that East campus is not being utilized is misleading. District office is there. Some JTED programs are there. The special needs preschool is there. Transportation is there. It is not sitting empty or unused. Cost efficiency was the goal and it is serving that purpose.

Secondly, as a teacher at the high school I am both saddened and appalled at your representation of our students. We have a 91% graduation rate and 74% of our students are meeting or EXCEEDING high school proficiency. Proficiency at the high school level is far beyond the math that you reference. It is pre-calculus and geometry - not basic addition, subtraction, percentages,etc. It is a difficult test.

I would also like it notes that Bradshaw is the #1 public school high school in the tri-city area and in the top 3 in the county based on AIMS data from last year (and we have been climbing for years).

The bottom line is that you feel that you cannot afford this, but, in the long run, if this does not pass it will cost you more than $100-$200 a year. HUSD is the #1 employer in PV and right now employees cannot afford to spend. They have limited disposable income. So our entire economy is affected. New teachers cannot buy homes. We lost 1/3 of our teachers over the last 3 years. Why? Because they cannot afford to live here anymore. They are moving out of state or to urban areas. This has and will continue to impact the local economy. And...eventually...it will impact your property values.

You claim that you cannot afford it. The truth is that you cannot afford not to. Whether you realize it or not. This is an investment. An investment in our community, our economy, our kids and our future. Respectfully.


Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Article comment by: Jeri Kooiman

I think we are missing some key facts in this letter. Certainly everyone will have the opportunity to vote in the manner that they see most appropriate come this October and November.

However, the community needs to be aware that our schools have had their budgets reduced by 21.8% in the past five years. This includes the elimination of funding for textbooks, technology software licenses, and library resources. This is the deepest cut of any state in our country. Per pupil funding in Arizona currently ranks us 47th in the country. The Humboldt Unified School District has had to make deep cuts across all areas. This includes eliminating 130 employees in the past 5 years, eliminating assistant principals and counselors at the middle schools, eliminating certified librarians, freezing salaries for the past 6 years and reducing music and PE teachers to name a few. With these cuts our schools have been able to achieve at high levels, including the highest performing elementary school in the county and a high school that is currently four points from being an “A” school with a graduation rate well above the state average and a math proficiency rate higher than what is listed in the letter, however how long can we ask our students to continue to learn under these conditions.

HUSD has been a good steward of tax payer money as indicated in the 2012 Auditor General Report. “Humboldt Unified School District’s student achievement was higher than both its peer districts’ and state averages....The District’s per-pupil costs in administration and plant operations were much lower than peer districts.” As a point of clarification, the East campus was not built with Bond dollars generated from local tax dollars. The East campus was built by the School Facilities Board, a state agency, in 2002, and is now the home to the preschool program, the alternative education school, a special education program, JTED courses, and several district departments.

Currently, 50% of the school districts in the state of Arizona are operating on an M & O override. This equates to 70-80% of the students in this state attending schools in which the community has made the investment in their neighborhood schools. The best investment we can make as, citizens, community leaders, parents and grandparents, is in education of our children. Their knowledge and education shape our future!
Jeri Ann Kooiman
PAC Chair
"YES!ForHumboldtSchools"




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