Fri, Feb. 28

Guest Editorial: Funding public education in the Verde Valley

The crashing economy has hit Arizona hard. According to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, state tax revenues have fallen 35 percent. On May 18, voters across the State will be asked to approve Proposition 100. Proposition 100 is a temporary sales tax that will be eliminated May 31, 2013. Passing Proposition 100 will allow the state to partially replace funds that have been or will be reduced from school district budgets.

As a result of our dismal economic conditions, it is important for the community to know the funding facts facing Verde Valley School Districts and the children they serve.

Fact one: This year, Verde Valley School Districts have already encountered over $3.5 million in budget reductions. Last year, districts reduced or eliminated teachers and other district positions, school programs and increased class sizes.

Fact two: For 2010-2011 school-year, your Verde Valley School Districts will face additional cuts of $4.6 million. These reductions include the loss of full-day kindergarten funding, reductions in the Classroom Site funds, funds for textbooks and classroom supplies, and federal stimulus funds.

Fact three: If Proposition 100 does not pass, Verde Valley School Districts will face an additional $3.2 million in budget reductions. The loss of these funds may force districts to increase class size and reduce or eliminate full-day kindergarten.

Last year, federal stimulus dollars helped ease a small portion of the State’s cuts to education. Verde Valley School Districts utilized these funds for student programs and were able to save over 20 jobs throughout the Verde Valley. Unfortunately, these funds are now gone.

Learn the facts about Proposition 100 and vote.

Verde Valley Superintendents: Karin Ward, Beaver Creek Elementary District; Dan Brown, Camp Verde Unified School District; Kathleen Fleenor, Clarkdale Elementary School District; Barbara U’Ren, Cottonwood-Oak Creek Elementary District; Tim Foist, Mingus Union High School District; Mike Aylstock, Sedona Unified School District; Marv Lamer, Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education (VACTE): Tim Carter, Yavapai County Superintendent

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