Bartle: Be selfish; vote ‘yes’ on override


If you’re an educator or parent of a Maricopa Unified School District student (or future student), I likely don’t have to convince you of the importance of improving the educational opportunities for our kids.

If not, and you’re selfishly casting your vote on the MUSD override proposal, good for you. I am, too.

I want the value of my house to go up – not down. I want the value of my business to go up – not down. I want the city’s reliance on my taxes to go down – not up. I want more skilled nurses, firefighters and teachers working in our community – not fewer.

These are a few of the reasons I’m voting yes on the MUSD override. 

One of – if not the – first questions asked by employers and residents considering a move to Maricopa is: “How are the schools?”

The city has invested significant resources (read: spent a lot of our money) trying to bring jobs to Maricopa over the years. Most of the ingredients that go into successful economic development – the economy, our location, our population, our demographics, our access/transportation – are out of our control.

One requirement we can control is the quality of our schools.

Maricopa Unified School District has made great strides in recent years, continuing to improve its district scores and gain on its goal of being an A district.

MUSD’s success is happening in the face of stiff competition from several good, local charter schools, which receive more per-student funding and have fewer costs than traditional public school districts. Tempe Union and Kyrene schools, which bus Maricopa kids to the Valley, passed 10 and 15 percent overrides, respectively, last year. (MUSD is asking for the smallest allowable amount, 5 percent.)

It’s time we Maricopans loosen the handcuffs and allow MUSD to lower class sizes and increase academic offerings by hiring more teachers and investing in more instructional technology.