The Education Action Network

Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools

Higley school district seeks $70.5M bond

The Republic | Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:05 AM

Higley Unified School District is seeking an override totaling $4.9 million annually in its operating budget. Instead of seeking another capital-spending override, the governing board opted to ask voters to approve a $70.5 million bond package for possible construction of schools to accommodate its booming student population, improving school grounds and future needs for furniture, technology and buses.

Higley voters last year rejected the district’s request for a 10 percent override.

Excerpts and summaries of pro statements:

Gilbert Mayor John Lewis argued that providing a quality K-12 education to students supports the local workforce and attracts businesses.

“To support the vibrancy of our area and to continue to attract businesses to Gilbert, which provide jobs and a tax base for education funding, I believe that investing in Gilbert’s greatest asset, our premier education, is money well spent.”

Gilbert Town Councilwoman Jenn Daniels wrote that she is confident Higley is spending its money wisely and needs funding to support the district’s projected student growth of 300 to 500 students each year.

HUSD governing board Vice President Kim Anderson wrote that the passage of the bond was necessary because the state no longer allocates funding to districts to help them build schools.

“Without additional sources of revenue ... the Higley community faces the threat of overcrowded schools, decaying infrastructure, substandard athletic facilities and a district that will not be able to meet the basic educational needs of its students.”

Tiffany Parker-Meade, owner of ProStar Auto Transport, and parent of four students attending Higley schools, wrote: “I will vote yes because I own a business. People come to Gilbert because we are perceived as a viable community. School quality is one aspect in that perception — and reality — of economic health. That boosts my customer base.”

Steve Campbell, head football coach at Williams Field High School, wrote: “While our students are outperforming others in the East Valley, our buildings and facilities have deteriorated to a mediocre level due to a lack of state funding.”

Others argued that the district needed the funds to support the growing student population, maintain current standards of education and keep attracting new families and businesses to the district.

Excerpts and summaries of con statements:

Barbara E. Yates, listed as a Higley voter, wrote that she believes the district’s language in support of the bond is “vague and non-specific,” while Jim Kresse, listed as a Higley resident, wrote that the district was showing contempt for voters by asking them to approve a bond after they rejected last year’s override.

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