Limited options for CCUSD93 governing board

Peterson strongly opposes the Common Core curriculum and its cradle-to-grave tracking of students
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ccusd school board elect

CCUSD93 – Since Cave Creek Vice Mayor Adam Trenk successfully sued to get Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD93) governing board member Susan Clancy, whose petitions were apparently three signatures shy, booted from the November ballot for reelection, there are now three candidates running for two seats on the board: Mark Warren, Cynthia Weiss and Angelica Peterson.

Warren, who was voted off the board after attempting to get district taxpayers to finance a swimming pool, is attempting a return.

Readers may recall Warren, who was board president in 2005, advocated passing a $4.75 million bond to build an indoor “aquatic facility” for the approximately 60 district-wide swim team participants, so they wouldn’t be inconvenienced by having to travel to schools in larger districts that already had Olympic-sized pools for practice.

However, the swimming pool he was asking voters to approve was only half the dimensions of an Olympic-sized pool.

Warren was on the board when it voted to issue bonds that would have otherwise expired, despite the district not needing the money to build another school, their authorized purpose.

He also voted in support of the $121 million bond package that voters rejected, which included building a new $60 million high school the district didn’t need.

He voted to build the middle school the district didn’t need, which subsequently forced the closure of one middle school and required students to be bused to the southernmost boundary of the school district to attend the new middle school.

Last time Warren served on the board he ended up resigning, mid-term, claiming he was moving to accept a job promotion.

However, Warren never left town.

Weiss says she wants to “improve classroom funding.” The only way that can be interpreted is she is an advocate of higher property taxes.

Listed as one of her campaign promises, Weiss states she will “support innovative solutions that help ensure a world-class education by fostering relationships in the community.”

She serves as a trustee for the Cave Creek Unified Education Foundation, set up several years ago by parents picked by Burdick to raise money to support her agenda.

Although it claims to be a 501(c)3 organization and contributions are tax deductible, we are unable to find any evidence of it being registered with either the Arizona Corporation Commission or the IRS.

Readers may remember Weiss’ husband, realtor Ron Weiss, who picketed our office in 2009, holding a sign saying, “Sonoran News is a cancer on the community” because we provided taxpayers with facts about the cost of overrides.

He touted how CCUSD93 had one of the lowest tax rates in the state. However, he failed to acknowledge the other half of the equation, the multiplier, or property valuations, which are close to the highest in the state.

Cynthia Weiss wrote a diatribe about us in the Cave Creek Support Our Students blog that same year, but claims her personal dissatisfaction with Sonoran News is not about politics.

Politics is pretty much the only thing that separates taxpayers from their money and liberals somehow feel entitled to the money in every taxpayer’s wallet for the benefit of their cause.

Weiss was appointed to the Joint Legislative Study Committee, where she says she offered a parent’s perspective on charter versus district funding formulas and their impact on kids.

Wiess marches to the globalization drum and, as a graphic designer and volunteer at CCUSD93, where the Weisses have a daughter attending middle school, designed CCUSD93’s new logo incorporating a saguaro and globe with the tagline: “Community Inspired, Globally Prepared.”

The district’s pre-override main selling point has always touted how passage would reduce class sizes.

On the few occasions overrides were passed, that never occurred.

Class size has remained the same both before and after passage of overrides. So, money has not trickled down to the classroom as its advocates claimed it would.

Reduced class size is used as a selling point because that’s what parents believe and hope will happen.

Peterson, who was not hand-picked to run by Superintendent Debbi Burdick, strongly opposes the Common Core curriculum and its cradle-to-grave tracking of students.

Having immigrated to the United States from a communist country, Peterson sees Common Core as the march toward federal government control and indoctrination in the classroom.

Peterson is also appalled by the district’s continuing fiscal irresponsibility and is very passionate about wanting to turn that around.

For example, the district recently spent around $500,000 to build an addition to the Cactus Shadows High School cafeteria and furnish the new addition.

The project called for roofing only the addition, not the entire cafeteria, despite the original cafeteria roof requiring replacement.

Now the district is asking taxpayers to approve a $30 million bond package in November for facility renovations, which includes items such as roof replacements.

After the Goldwater Institute successfully challenged the district’s attempt to override the will of the voters by using bonds for projects other than those authorized by voters in 2000, rather than using the remaining $10,200,000 to pay down the district’s existing $13,750,000 in bond debt, a permitted use of the funds, it has instead decided to ask voters to reauthorize the use of those funds for other capital projects, many of which include maintenance of existing facilities.

It’s unclear why the district suddenly decided to spend money to expand the high school cafeteria when students have been fleeing the district by the hundreds over the past five years.

During that period, student enrollment has declined by more than 600 students, the equivalent of an entire elementary school.

Students are fleeing the district due to this superintendent’s policies, which are supported by the majority of the board.

Burdick collaborated with Rep. Heather Carter, R-Dist. 15, to convert all but one of its elementary schools to district-run charter schools. That’s as many schools as the law allows.

Nothing is changed at those schools – not the teachers, curriculum or administration.

However, Carter introduced Burdick to a loophole in the law that allows the district to receive more money by simply reclassifying those schools as charter schools.

These are the types of financial shenanigans that drove Peterson, who has no school-age children, to run for the school board.

Meanwhile the cheerleaders for more taxpayer money are campaigning to pass the bond initiatives using the age-old lie, “with no new taxes.”

If new taxes were not involved it would not require a vote.

The Arizona School Facilities Board (SFB) is in place to assist school districts with maintaining their facilities.

During the economic downturn, when the state’s budget was constrained, the SFB only approved projects that were absolutely necessary and placed new construction, not already underway, on hold.

The district has squandered its capital budget on unnecessary projects, only to come back to the taxpayers for more.

And, while CCUSD93, and pretty much every school district on the planet, claims it doesn’t receive enough funding, one decades old question remains unanswered: How much is enough?

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