By Linda Bentley | September 16, 2015

Yes or No for Cave Creek Schools

Perhaps their campaign really is based on influencing feelings and emotions rather than asking voters to raise their property taxes
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CCUSD93 – Early voting starts on Oct. 8 in a the Nov. 3 special election which has Cave Creek Unified School District asking voters to increase their property taxes by approving a 15 percent Maintenance and Operation (M&O) override to generate an additional $4.2 million.

A few years ago, legislation was passed that raised the override limit from 10 percent to 15 percent.

The override is to compensate for the extra approximately $3 million in charter dollars the district will no longer receive since the legislature eliminated a loophole that permitted CCUSD’s and other district’s schemes to declare their schools district sponsored charter schools in order to receive more money.

Since nothing else was changed by the conversion to charter schools – not the teachers, curriculum, administration or school board – the legislature voted to eliminate such conversions.

Yes for Cave Creek Schools is the political action committee campaigning to pass the 15 percent M&O override.

The district claims 100 percent of the money will go to the classroom to pay for teachers, programs and materials.

Yes for Cave Creek Schools claims the district will use the money for “small class sizes” and “high quality teachers.”

Over the past five years, override or no override, charter school millions or no charter school millions, class sizes have remained the same throughout CCUSD93, averaging about 20 students per teacher.

Administration hasn’t budged much over the past five years, going from 18 administrators in 2009, when it reported having nine schools in the district, to 17 administrators in 2010 and 11, while reporting eight schools and 16 administrators in 2012 and 2013 after enrollment in the district plummeted by 441 students from in 2009 to 2013.

CCUSD93 spent an average of $8,355 per student over the same period of time.

In 2012, the per-pupil spending dipped to $7,959. It jumped to $8,807 the following year, which was after the district voted to convert its schools to district sponsored charter schools.

What’s interesting about 2012, when the district had nearly $850 less, it had 269 teachers, whereas in 2013, when it had more money, it had 266 teachers, while teachers’ aides remained the same both years.

The only categories that increased when the district had $850 more per student, and fewer students, were under classified staff, where “managers” and a category titled “others” both increased.

And, while the district has bled another school’s worth of student enrollment over the past 5 years, Superintendent Debbi Burdick’s salary has increased by more than $5,000.

But the funniest part of Yes for Cave Creek Schools is its Aug. 24 Facebook post that states: “We have 140 more lawn signs looking for homes. Just click on the link below to add your home to the list. My lawn sign is up, they're small & clean yet affective (sic). Thank you again for supporting our page! Please share us w/ your friends so they can 'like' us too!”

Merriam Webster might help them out.

Definition of AFFECTIVE

1 : relating to, arising from, or influencing feelings or emotions : emotional <cognitive and affective symptoms>

2 : expressing emotion <affective language>

— af·fec·tive·ly adverb

Perhaps their campaign really is based on influencing feelings and emotions rather than asking voters to raise their property taxes.

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