Originally Published: October 28, 2013 6 a.m.
As a teacher at Prescott High School, I see every day that the Arizona Legislature has ignored its responsibility to adequately fund education. About 80 percent of Arizona's students attend in a district that operates on a local budget override, paid for by people wise enough to invest in their community's future. PUSD does not receive adequate funding to offer competitive salaries, and too many of our best reluctantly go to elsewhere. This year alone, PUSD had to hire 54 new teachers.
Yes, enrollment is down slightly in PUSD over the past few years. Some reduction in funding is due to this. Positions within the district have been commensurately eliminated. However, the Legislature's cuts to education funding go well beyond reduction in enrollment.
PUSD's override would directly improve education for kids. ALL of the override money stays here in Prescott. It will allow us to attract great teachers and keep our best teachers here. It will also maintain critical programs like music, art and athletics.
PUSD's bonds will be for a different, equally vital investment. Prescott's school buildings average 67 years old. Technology and facilities are outdated. Some well-meaning folks suggest that building repairs should be paid in cash. Unfortunately, the legislature has cut $12 million in Building Renewal funds from PUSD in recent years.
I have yet to see a comment in this newspaper from anyone who has verifiably spent an entire day recently in one of our schools, who does not support the override and bond issues. People who know how much good we do with how little will vote YES, YES for our community's future.