Originally Published: October 16, 2015 6 a.m.
PRESCOTT - Supporters of Prescott Unified School District's bond and override numbered in the hundreds at a rally Thursday evening at Yavapai Courthouse Plaza.Parents, district employees, community members and students marched around the courthouse and stood on the plaza corners carrying signs supporting the district's bond and override.Rally attendees enjoyed live music by South of Winslow, Prescott Jazz Combo, Generation Band and Cross-Eyed Possum, and heard from state elected officials and civic leaders.District voters will decide four questions on Nov. 3: a 14-year, $15 million bond; a seven-year, $6 million budget override; and two separate ballot questions to allow the sale or lease of Washington and Miller Valley elementary schools, both closed at the end of the 2014-15 school year."I believe schools are the lifeblood of our community," said Sonya Tenney, who has three children enrolled in the district and is married to Abia Judd Elementary Principal Clark Tenney."If we don't support our schools, our community will not thrive," she said.Debbie Hammer, an art teacher at Prescott High School said she came to the rally to "support our students, to make our schools a better and safe place for everyone."Abia Judd second-grade teacher Christina Tymchak paused while waving at passing cars to explain she supported the bond and override "because I care deeply about my students, and I want what's best for them."Her colleague at Abia Judd, first-grade teacher Michelle Miles, noted the bond and override won't increase tax rates over current levels."We're just asking to maintain the current bond that's going to be expiring," she said.Rally speakers included Reps. Noel Campbell and Karen Fann, both urging voters to approve PUSD's bond and override."Everybody knows the state is tight right now with money, and it's been hard," Fann said. "That's why we need to keep this money in the school system right now."School district Superintendent Joe Howard shared with the crowd what he called unprecedented support from community leaders, reading from a letter signed by Prescott Mayor Marlin Kuykendall, City Councilmen Charlie Arnold and Steve Blair, City Councilwoman Jean Wilcox, and Prescott Chamber of Commerce President David Maurer.The letter outlined ways a strong education system builds a strong community."We could go on, but the most powerful message we can give to voters is, 'Vote yes for the proposed bond and override for Prescott Unified School District and vote yes over the proposed sale or lease of school facilities no longer being used,'" the letter reads.Howard said the support from community leaders was "even bigger than the bond and override."He said the letter reflected a growing partnership between school and community leaders."Our schools should doing what our community needs them to do," he said, adding that the schools work best with community support.County elections officials sent ballots to voters this week. Voters can mail completed ballots to the county elections office in the envelope provided or drop them in Yavapai County ballot drop boxes.Ballots must be received by elections officials by Nov. 3 to be counted.Follow reporter Les Bowen on Twitter @NewsyLesBowen. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 1110, or 928-830-9305.Mobile users click here for video No. 1Mobile users click here for video No. 2
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