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Wed, Nov. 13

PUSD bond, override supporters continue voter outreach; rally at courthouse plaza Thursday

PRESCOTT - School officials and supporters of Prescott Unified School District's proposed $15 million, 14-year bond and $6 million seven-year override are taking their message one-on-one to voters.

Superintendent Joe Howard and Krista Carman, co-chairwoman for the Yes Yes For Prescott Education political action committee, met with voters at El Gato Azul in downtown Prescott on Monday afternoon, Oct. 12.

"We're hopeful that people are seeing the need," Howard said.

Supporters' next big event is a rally at Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza, 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15.

Howard spoke Monday about the school district's loss in enrollment - a multi-year trend that saw about 300 students leave the district at the start of the current academic year.

Howard said it's a combination of younger families leaving the area, combined with new schools opening in the area that have impacted the finances at PUSD.

Those factors have meant less money in school coffers, since district budgets are a function of school funding formulas that have been slashed at the state level and student enrollment dropping locally.

Districts also have suffered from decreased funding for maintenance and repairs, known as capital funding.

"It's our hope that the state of Arizona will fund education adequately, and we won't have to go back to our voters," Howard said.

He noted the difficulty in getting approval for bonds and overrides in Prescott - voters defeated the last request in 2013, and haven't approved a bond since 2004.

But Howard was quick to point out similar struggles across the state.

"I wouldn't expect there's a school district in Arizona that isn't having a tough time," he said.

Voters will receive ballots in the mail over the next several days - Yavapai County elections officials will mail them this week.

Voters can return completed ballots by mail or at the county's ballot drop box. All ballots must be received by elections officials on Election Day to be counted.

Follow reporter Les Bowen on Twitter @NewsyLesBowen. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 1110, or 928-830-9305.

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