FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MEDIA CONTACT
MAY 19, 2011 Superintendent Dr. Debbi Burdick
Cave Creek Unified School District
CCUSD BOARD TO VOTE ON APPROVAL OF OVERRIDE ELECTION
Continuing State budget cuts will leave school district coffers low on funds
CAVE CREEK, AZ – After suffering through nearly $6 million in cuts from the State over the last three years, the Cave Creek Unified School District’s (CCUSD) Governing Board prepares to vote on holding an override election.
“If the board votes to hold this election,” CCUSD Superintendent Dr. Debbi Burdick says. “We’re merely asking voters to okay the renewal of taxes that had already been approved previously.”
District officials will be asking the board to vote on holding a 15 percent override election that will replace a K-3 override and an M&O override that have already been in place. If the board approves of a November election, and it fails, the district will lose $4 million over the next four years or 12 percent of the district’s annual operating budget.
“Because of the State budget cuts, local contributions and funding become critical. Without the renewal of the override funds, the district will lose about 60 teachers and the quality programs that go with them,” says LearnYes Chairman Steve Hart. LearnYes.org is a political community organization created to support CCUSD and its educational measures. To learn more, go to LearnYes.org.
Despite the fact that the district voters have approved of only four of its past 16 education-related elections, Hart remains optimistic about passing an election in November if the board votes to hold one. “I believe that our community now understands how significant any cuts are to a K-12 education and the importance of students and their education to our community,” Hart says.
If the board voted to hold an election and it passed, it would cost district taxpayers only about $2.50 a month more than what they’re paying now on a home assessed at $250,000 – a tax rate that remains more than $1,000 less per year than surrounding districts. The extra $2.50 a month would re-instate reduced override funds due to failure of override elections in 2008 and 2009.
If the election was held and did not pass, the funding losses would cast a shadow over the district’s strong elementary school programs already in place. “I would expect that our elementary schools especially would look very different than they do right now,” says Dr. Burdick. “We are fortunate to have a well-rounded education for our elementary school children. We would lose quality programming that makes our district special.”
The district’s five elementary schools already took a hit last year by losing all of their librarians and being asked to share one traveling nurse and one counselor between all five schools. The district’s middle school population fared no better when the board was forced to vote to close one of its two middle schools last year to save money. As the district braces for one more round of budget cuts from the State for the next school year (2011-2012) – this one in the unprecedented amount of $1.6 million – it becomes even more imperative that the community steps up if the board approves a November election.
“Our schools are a barometer of the health of our community. It behooves all of us to keep them strong and healthy, which will in turn attract people who want to live and work here,” Board President Dave Schaefer says.
If an election is called, the LearnYes.org organization stands ready to support the decision and rally the community in support of its schools. “We should all be supporting education and teachers and their critical role in helping our children and students develop,” Hart says. “Our school district is a very important part of our community and something that is integral to the values in our community.”
The five-member CCUSD Governing Board will vote on whether or not to approve a November override election at its May 24 board meeting.