By Gary Miller
Recently I had a conversation about the Maricopa Unified School District (MUSD) override with a constituent named Ed. Ed is a retired college pitching coach living on a fixed income.During our conversation, he threw me straightforward questions and provided me with encouraging words in support of local education. Ed pointed out that for the community to vote yes it needed to have trust in MUSD and the Governing Board to spend the money as proposed. Ed expressed that he was interested to know how much revenue would be generated and exactly how the revenue would be appropriated.
As a Governing Board member, I, too, believe that, “We the People,” taxpayers, have a right to know how much revenue will be generated and exactly how the tax revenue will be appropriated. As I informed Ed, if approved, the 10 percent, seven-year override would help MUSD provide students with more opportunities to achieve academic excellence when competing with districts that already have an override in place. If approved, the annual cost would be $133 per $100,000 of assessed value. I assured Ed that the revenue generated couldn’t be spent until the Governing Board appropriated the funds and the use of the funds has already been identified.
If approved, the override funds will be used in two ways:
1. 50 Additional Teaching Positions
• Elementary Schools – 24 teachers for class size reduction
• Middle Schools – 4 teachers for class size reduction and 2 teachers for expanded academic programs
• Maricopa High School – 4 teachers for class size reduction and 2 teachers for expanded academic programs. 7 teachers will be hired for a new alternative program.
• 3 Elementary Counselors
• 2 Instructional Technology Integration Teachers
• 1 Elementary Teacher on Special Assignment
• 1 Elementary/Middle School Librarian
2. Additional Instructional Technology for Students
• 595 student laptops
• 17 locked computer carts with charging stations
• 1 tech support staff member
• Computer Licensing
• Technology Equipment and Supplies
• Instructional Technology Professional Development for teachers
Personally, my passion is to help improve health-related quality of life in the community. I shared with Ed that the National Institute of Mental Health (NAMI) calculates approximately one in five youth experiences a diagnosable mental health condition. I explained to Ed how the district currently has only one elementary counselor who can provide service to students that are in need at the district’s six elementary schools (there is a second elementary counselor than can only work with Special Education students). If approved, the MUSD override will provide funds for three additional elementary counselors to help improve the mental health of elementary school students.
Ed expressed to me that he and his wife will vote yes for the MUSD override. An old saying, “If you think the cost of education is expensive then wait until you see what ignorance will cost us,” helped Ed to convince his wife to vote yes.
I extend a great big “thank you” to Ed and to his wife for their trust and for their yes vote. For those of you reading this, I hope you, too, if you haven’t already, will vote yes for the MUSD override.
Gary Miller is an MUSD Governing Board member