M&O Overrides pass for KSD, TUHSD - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

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M&O Overrides pass for KSD, TUHSD

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Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 12:00 pm

Results from the Nov. 5 election show voters in support of both Kyrene School District (KSD) and Tempe Union High School District (TUHSD) Maintenance and Operations Overrides.

According to Maricopa County unofficial election results, Kyrene’s 15 precincts have reported 58 percent of voters in favor of the 15 percent continuation M&O Override.

The M&O Override for Kyrene will stretch out for seven years.

As for Tempe Union’s 24 precincts, 58 percent of voters are supporting the M&O Override.

This is a huge victory for TUHSD, being that during the last two elections the district was unable to garner support of the M&O Override, a continuation of previous year.

According to a TUHSD fact sheet, the current M&O Override funds ($6.75 million) support various schooling areas such as basic instructional programs, staffing for smaller class sizes, staff development, athletic and extra-curricular programs, and facilities maintenance programs.

Dick Foreman, vice chairman of the Yes Support Our Schools Campaign, believes Tempe Union was successful during this election because of how the campaign was more community centered.

He said it was not a political campaign, but rather a community campaign taping inside each individual to let them know the importance of the M&O Override, which is not only beneficial to the seven high schools in the district, but also homeowners.

“We were the most supportive override in Maricopa County. We went from losing two of the last three elections to the most popular override amongst our constituents of any school district in Maricopa County,” Foreman said. “We didn’t run a minimal campaign, we ran an aggressive, overt campaign. We went to the people that we have not asked before to become supporters of their school district.”

Some of the new supporters Foreman and his team focused on were empty nesters, with no children at home, and senior citizens with no children at home.

“Once we approached those people and talked about how the M&O Override is good for property value, good for safety and security in their neighborhoods, and improves their lifestyle and their home when they’re surrounded by excellent schools, once that message was delivered... It was the difference,” Foreman said. “Boy did we turn a corner in this election.”

Dr. Kenneth Baca, superintendent of TUHSD, said it feels great to know that the community supported the M&O Override, and demonstrates a continuation of support for quality schools.

“It’s a testament to all of our teachers, and in the Ahwatukee community the teachers of Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista, along with the support staff,” he said.

Baca believes this year’s election was not crowded with other funding initiatives that were previously on the 2012 ballot, but more focused toward the two school districts that serve the community.

“They recognized their value of preserving their property value and preserving the wonderful community that is Ahwatukee. I think it was a recognition of support for what the schools mean to them and being a part of their community,” Baca said.

KSD also favored from winning its M&O Override by having its 12 percent plan approved, which is a continuation of what was already in place from previous years.

Rosalie Hirano, co-chair of Keep Kyrene Strong, said they are relieved with the outcome of the election and feel the M&O Override will be beneficial to the community as a whole.

“We spent quite of bit of time leading up to the election trying to get voters to the polls, and educating them on the importance of the election,” she said. “If it hadn’t passed we were looking at a reduction of $12 million in the Kyrene budget over the next few years. The important part is not only were we able to secure a continuation of the funding, but it gave us an opportunity to really talk to voters, to parents and people who do not have children to press upon them about the importance of education.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com

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