Just say “NO WAY!” to School District Unification Plans
There are several school redistricting plans that are coming up for vote in November. If approved, the plans would unify 76 elementary and high school districts into 27 K-12 districts throughout the state, including 34 districts that would be combined into six districts in Maricopa County.
The Plan were drafted by the Arizona School District Redistricting Commission, which was created by state lawmakers. Advocates say unification will free up funds for schools to allocate to specific needs, such as teacher salaries, by eliminating ‘inefficiencies’ and administrative duplication.
Critics say the plans have not been sufficiently defined or studied and that the formula used to project the financial and tax implications was flawed.
Under the plans, when districts are combined, they would switch from the various tax rates to a uniform rate for each district. The effects on Phoenix real estate owners are undeniable.
In Maricopa County, 8 of 14 elementary school districts would see an increase in property tax rates. The increases range from a modest $.09 increase per $100 assessed valuation (about $18/year for a $200,000 property) to $1.13 per $100 assessed valuation (about $226/year).
So who’s on this right side of this issue? Like many proposals, all you have to do to answer that question is to look at the supporters and the critics.
In this case, the only supporter that I could find is the Maricopa County Unified for Success Group (www.yesonthequestion.com).
Critics, however, include:
–Preserve Madison (Madison Elementary School District – www.preservemadison.org)
–Preserving Phoenix School Districts (Phoenix Union High School District – www.preservingphoenixschooldistricts.org)
–Citizens for Quality Education (Glendale Union, Washington, and Glendale Elementary School Districts – www.saveschoolsnow.org)
–No to Mega Districts (Agua Fria Union, Litchfield, and Avondale Elementary School Districts – www.notomegadistricts.org)
–Preserve Kyrene (Kyrene Elementary School District – www.preservekyrene.org)
School districts worry that unification will have the exact opposite effect of increasing costs, which in turn directly impacts the funds available for the classroom. I don’t know about you, but on education issues, I’ll side with schools over state lawmakers any day of the week! I say “NO” to school district unification!
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