The Education Action Network

Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools

Construction companies provide major backing for Yes for PV Schools

The largest contributor to Yes for PV Students, the political-action committee supporting Tuesday's school-funding election, is a non-profit funded primarily by construction companies.

Yes for PV Students is working to get residents to support a $203 million capital bond and a nearly $5.9 million capital override for the Paradise Valley Unified School District.

If approved, the bond will be used to renovate and maintain schools, comply with safety regulations and improve school grounds. The bond would allow the district to buy new furniture, equipment, technology and school buses.

The district would spend 90 percent of the override on instructional materials. The remainder would go to support vehicles.

Yes for PV Students received about $82,500 in contributions through Oct. 19. The bulk of that money - $75,000 - was from the Coalition for Education Excellence, a Glendale-based group committed to getting bonds and overrides approved, according to its mission statement.

The coalition lists construction companies, including McCarthy Building Cos., Core Construction, Chase Building Team, Jokake Construction and Architecture Design Management Group, as its funders.

Efforts to contact the coalition were unsuccessful.

Paul Ulan, a campaign consultant for Yes for PV Students, said the coalition's support goes beyond the Paradise Valley district.

"The coalition is out there supporting the bond and override elections across the state. They're actively selecting and supporting districts," Ulan said. "They were a coalition that was involved in a number of elections in the 2010 cycle. They are not new to the arena."

Yes for PV Students solicited the coalition's support, and the coalition contacted the committee asking how it could help get the override and bond passed, Ulan said.

There is no conflict of interest in Yes for PV Students receiving money from a group supported by businesses that could potentially benefit from the passing of the ballot measures, Ulan said.

"The committee is not the district. That way, there is a buffer between the district" and the construction companies, he said.

The committee does not know if the companies funding the coalition are doing business with the Paradise Valley district. The district is researching The Republic's request for information on whether the district had done business with any of the companies funding the coalition.

By law, the district cannot be involved with Yes for PV Students. But Ulan said there are residents who still believe the committee is an extension of the district.

"If somebody is saying that, they already have it in their mind that they are voting a particular way," he said.

Yes for PV Students spent $82,719.44 of its contributions - there was a surplus of about $5,490 from the previous campaign. Ulan, owner of Phoenix-based Primary Consultants, received $78,555 for consulting fees, signs, photos, design, printing, postage and more.

Many of the contributors to Yes for PV Students though Oct. 19 were governing board members, administrators and employees, including Jim Lee, director of student services; Beverly Kilgore, assistant director of technology; and governing board member Julie Bacon.

Yes for PV Students is co-chaired by Stacey Huscher and Jen Mozilo, both vice presidents of the United Parents Council.

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