In the past few months since I retired, I have taken a great interest in watching our community very closely. I now have the time to see how Ahwatukee functions in the day time, something I rarely saw when I worked — never had time to do so.
As I watch our community, I am struck with how lucky we are to live in this “cul-de-sac.” I have had time to enjoy the many services and opportunities available in our area and we do have many things to appreciate.
One of the things I know we appreciate in our area and helps the value of our homes appreciate as well are our local schools. Both Tempe Union High School District and Kyrene School District are asking for bond overrides from us to help cover the funding shortfall that the state Legislature has allowed to develop over the past several years. While my natural fiscal conservatism tells me that I don’t want to pay more to the government for anything, I realize that it is one of the few things we, as a community, can give back to our schools to help them continue their records of excellence. In fact, when you look at those things that schools are judged by in Arizona, we have been blessed with our community schools that have local, regional, state-wide, and national recognition.
These requested overrides are largely to continue previous overrides we voters have approved in the past — money we are already paying as part of our property tax bundle. These overrides are used primarily to support teacher staffing and student-related services, areas that the Legislature has woefully under funded. While I would love the Legislature to pony up the dollars it has slowly drained from our schools, I know that is not going to happen anytime soon. And although I don’t like giving one more dollar to the government than is necessary, our community schools are our greatest investment in the short and long term. Ultimately, our kids are our community’s future — we owe them the best schools we can provide. The override is a significant way of showing directly that we care enough about our schools to provide support when our state leaders can’t or won’t.
• Ahwatukee resident K.R. Scott retired last school year from Mountain Pointe High School after teaching there for 20 years.