The value of a well-organized, persistent and straight-forward marketing and social media campaign was never so obvious as it was this week when the votes were counted for the Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union override elections.
Partners in Education Chair Jamie Woodward organized about 60 PIE volunteers to educate voters about the extreme importance of this override vote. With state aid for K-12 education in Arizona having been cut deeper than perhaps any other time in state history, the success of this override was crucial.
While our Yavapai County neighbors in Prescott, Humboldt and Chino Valley saw their bond and override elections go down to convincing defeat Tuesday, Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union won voter favor by sizeable margins. Ditto for Sedona-Oak Creek, which had failed in its previous attempt at an override.
Of course, Woodward and her PIE volunteers had a good product to sell local voters. Mingus and Cottonwood-Oak Creek do a fine job. We have excellent teachers and solid school administrators. They obviously have earned the community's confidence.
Now, with the relief of securing override funding for another seven years (with the need for renewal coming in five years), the Mingus and Cottonwood-Oak Creek school boards need to turn their attention back to the arena of shared services. The financial challenges facing schools today has been well documented. Verde Valley voters obviously understand that based on their strong override support Tuesday.
But we also understand that your financial resources can be stretched even further through jobs consolidation. There is already evidence of the value of this as we have seen with the sharing of special education and transportation directors between the two districts. This partnership trend needs to continue and expand to eliminate the duplication of administrative personnel between the two districts.
Every dollar saved is another dollar that can be spent in the classroom.