Dr. Cort Monroe's Monthly Vodcast
Script for the May 2021 Vodcast
I would like to congratulate the class of 2021 on their high school graduation. This current senior class is like no other and I commend each one of them for their grit, resiliency, and perseverance. What is typically a normal 4-year high school experience for these students was first interrupted as a blip in March 2020, which then eventually turned into a global pandemic, derailing a normal high school upperclassmen experience for all our seniors.
Not only did this experience challenge them, and all of us for that matter, physically, mentally, spiritually, and social-emotionally, but this experience now offers our seniors the opportunity to be better individuals going out into the world due to the challenges they have been presented with and faced head-on with the support of their parents, family members, friends, teachers, coaches and those around them.
My challenge for the Class of 2021, and all of us for that matter, is to strive to not simply return to normal but to become a better normal and allow the good things to fall out of our lives so we can make space for the great things in life.
I would like to make note and congratulate the Class of 2021 on the following accomplishments. It is important to note that this list may be a bit shorter due to the pandemic and limitations that have existed, as well as the timing of the writing of the article:
- The class of 2021 consists of approximately 470 graduating seniors.
- Congratulations to Jessica Brashear for being named the Valedictorian with a 4.9 GPA, Alicia Rifkin being named Salutatorian, and Katianna Blackwell Scott who was named a National Merit Finalist
- The graduating class of 2021 has been awarded approximately $25,000,000 in secured scholarships at the time of this writing
- There were 15 graduates who were in the International Baccalaureate Program and 24 that were in the Early College Program.
- There were 1,396 Advanced Placement courses taken and 637 Dual Enrollment classes taken over the past four years by the Class of 2021.
- Senior Cheyenne Yerkes won the Theater for Life Scholarship from the Arizona State Thespian Society.
- We have 24 student-athletes who have signed to continue on playing at the collegiate level. Among the many team and individual athletic accolades that occurred this school year with the Class of 2021 are the following:
Girl’s Swim Team took 3rd at State Championships
Girl’s Varsity Volleyball Team was the Division 2 State Runner-Up
Girl’s Golf Team was the Division 2 State Runner-Up
Boy’s Golf Team was the Division 2 State Champions
Boy’s Basketball Team was the 5A North East Region Conference Champions
Girl’s Basketball Team was the 5A North East Region Conference Champions
Finally, as part of the Superintendent’s Challenge, Senior Ryland Davidson accumulated 938.5 volunteer service hours over his four years at Cactus Shadows High School. Forty-eight seniors participated in this Superintendent’s Challenge and the Class of 2021 contributed a total of 12,365 volunteer hours in bettering the community over the past 4 years.
There will be many more recognitions and accolades to come. Again, congratulations to the Class of 2021 for all your successes. We love you, are proud of you, and are excited for your next journey and happiness moving into the future.
Script for the April 2021 Vodcast
Starting in January 2021 as the new Superintendent in the Cave Creek School District, this question has been posed to me: Why Does “ADDL EDUC AID – CAVE CREEK” show on my Tax Bill and where does the money go? I would like to answer that question here.
In 1980, the Arizona Legislature refined the school finance system to provide equal dollars per weighted pupil for school district operations through a balancing of the local qualifying property tax rate and State/County equalization assistance so that districts experience similar “effort” in raising educational dollars for their students irrespective of property valuations within their boundaries. The State of Arizona still utilizes this formula today. Therefore, as property value increases, State Equalization decreases and vice versa. Everyone in Arizona has to pay fifty percent of the qualifying tax rate, thus the “equalization” concept.
In the case of the Cave Creek Unified School District, the total primary assessed value of the district is $2.3B, providing $448,000 of assessed value per student. In comparison, a neighboring district, has approximately $89,529 per student. They receive $103,202,000 in State Equalization and Cave Creek, one of a handful of districts in Maricopa County, is not eligible for state equalization assistance because of its property wealth and receives no state equalization.
Public schools in Arizona are governed by the Arizona Constitution and Title 15 of the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS). ARS §15.992.B. states “At the same time of levying taxes as provided in subsection A of this section, the county board of supervisors shall annually levy an additional tax in each school district that is not eligible for equalization assistance as provided in section 15-971. Because of this statute and the assessed value in Cave Creek, the County Assessor collects approximately $4.1M annually from taxpayers on the line entitled “ADDL EDUC AID – CAVE CREEK” which is transmitted to the state treasurer for deposit in the state general fund to aid in school financial assistance. CAVE CREEK UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT DOES NOT RECEIVE ANY OF THIS FUNDING.
As we navigate the future with an eye on capturing more student enrollment into our schools and striving for long-term and sustainable funding sources into the Cave Creek Unified School District, it is imperative for residents to know that the Additional Educational Aid does not come to the Cave Creek School District Schools but to other schools in Arizona. Working together and educating one another can help us move forward in helping to sustain and grow the level of academic excellence our children so deserve in such a wonderful community. Facts like these can help individuals and voters make informed decisions moving forward.