By Linda Bentley | september 30, 2015

School district’s abysmal leadership should guide override measure

Bookmark and Share

CCUSD93 – Early voting begins on Oct. 8 for the Cave Creek Unified School District’s 15 percent maintenance and operation (M&O) override ballot measure.

After publishing an article “Yes or No for Cave Creek schools” on Sept. 16, we received a couple of phone calls from individuals claiming class sizes were substantially higher than the average of 20 we reported, and asking where we got our information.

One caller stated class sizes averaged closer to 30 students or more and had been like that for at least the past 10 years.

Our information comes from the Superintendent’s Annual
, which districts must file each year with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE).

CCUSD93 can be found in Volume 2 right around page 101, it varies slightly from year to year, but the districts are listed in alphabetical order under their respective counties.

Although Sonoran News has followed and reported on this information for the past 14 years, ADE only posts the past five years online.

While there are indeed classrooms that do have 30 or so students, there are several district pet programs, despite being more expensive and unpopular, that have as few as five students.

So, while the district touts with each override it passes that it will lower class sizes, it never does, a fact unwittingly corroborated by our caller.

M&O overrides used to be restricted to 10 percent of the budget. However, recently passed legislation now allows for a 15 percent override.

Debbi Burdick

Superintendent Debbi Burdick is desperate to pass this override because her idea to convert district schools to district sponsored charter schools has backfired.

Converting the schools, which offered nothing different than the district schools offered, only at a higher taxpayer cost via a loophole in the law, was simply a ploy by Burdick to obtain additional taxpayer money.

The legislature corrected this problem and the district must now pay back the extra money it received.

So, after bilking the taxpayers out of additional money simply by renaming their schools “charter,” Burdick now wants taxpayers to, once again, bail her out for her poor leadership and the district’s fiscal irresponsibility.

Tax bills are in the mail and most folks will notice, even before this override election, their taxes have gone up, even if their valuations have gone down.

This is due to recently passed legislation that lowers property taxes for commercial property and shifts the burden to residential property.

Property taxes for education, including the Community College District, make up more than 62 percent of the tax bill.

CCUSD93’s share of taxes has increased over last year and comprises about two thirds of the property taxes designated for education and around 41 percent of the total tax bill.

While the district, and those who support higher property taxes, claim the override will lower class sizes and allow hiring of better teachers, the reality is it will replace funds the district should never have received when Burdick decided to convert district schools to charters.

This override election is about bailing out the district’s abysmal leadership, not putting more money in the classrooms.

readers love sonoran news