Sat, July 20

Letter: Misconceptions about the school overrides


I recently became aware of two misconceptions regarding the school district override vote that is coming up soon.

One misconception was by a citizen who wrote a letter to the editor who objected to the school policy about not showing President Obama's televised talk to the students. She felt that the best way she could voice her objection was by voting against the override for the schools. Her anger is misdirected to the teachers and students; if she objects to school policy set by the administration, then she should address her concerns to the school board. By not voting for the override, she will be voting against programs that give students a better education and a better chance of graduating. Voting against the override is not the proper venue to express her disappointment.

The second misconception was actually heard on a beautiful hike I took with a group of friends. We encountered a couple from Cottonwood Ranch who gave us great directions to take a social trail we were unfamiliar with to save us probably 45 minutes in getting back to our car. Thanks to both of you for making a good hike a great hike. I asked them if they were voting for the override and the gentleman said that he felt everyone should live within their budget.

Unfortunately, the public schools in Arizona rely on many avenues of funding for teaching and school activities. The state of Arizona chronically under-funds the schools from K-12 as well as higher education. Our local schools for many years have relied on the override to support their budgets to provide the students with many of the essentials of school beyond just reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Those overrides are part of the budget process that the schools count on just as much as the taxes from the county and the funding from the state. The local school districts have already cut positions in order to meet the reduced funding from the state; voting against the overrides will further cut into necessary funding to keep our schools at the quality that we expect.

Our schools are public institutions and not private schools where budgets rely on tuition paid by parents. The overrides are an essential part of the schools' budgets and are our means of continuing local support to Mingus Union High School and Cottonwood Oak Creek public schools at the same level as we have for over 16 years.

Bob Richards, M.D.