Editorial: They were listening, but you need to act
Did you catch the 'We Are Listening' tour that played a gig in Prescott this week?
We did. The state Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas is on a tour across Arizona to allow educators, parents and others to air their opinions of, and problems with, the education system.
As we reported, the common thread was the plea for more money for our schools. Locally, Prescott residents can make a difference in that financial issue by approving the Prescott Unified School District's bond and override, set to be on the November ballot.
The plan includes a $6 million budget override on top of the $15 million bond.
As we also reported earlier this month, if approved, the bond would increase the district's maintenance and operations budget by $1 million annually for the next five years, $666,667 in the sixth year and $333,333 in the seventh year. During the override years, up to 13 cents of the district's 28-cent tax would go to the override.
The override would pay for recruiting and retaining staff. School officials said PUSD teacher salaries are $20,000 below the national average and $13,000 below the state average, with similar disparities among classified staff and administrators, and override funds would help narrow the pay gap.
If you are a parent or a concerned citizen, your vote is needed to make sure the bond and the override pass to secure a better future for PUSD's children.
Additional help from the state is a long way off. However, I was encouraged to see State Rep. Noel Campbell of Prescott promise, "We (legislators) will not be railroaded and bamboozled into a budget process like we were last time."
I most certainly hope not. For now, though, the fate of PUSD is in the hands of voters. If you are a parent of a PUSD student, you have an obligation to be at the polls and weigh in on this extremely important topic...for your child's sake.
-Robin Layton, editor