Protecting Arizona’s Resources and Children (PARC) has been working tirelessly to support our community by preventing the construction of the proposed South Mountain Freeway as a replacement for the current Pecos Road.

Maintaining a strong, vibrant, healthy community is our goal. In so many ways, a freeway would essentially destroy the quiet, safe neighborhoods that provide us with such a good quality of life. It would also forever scar the mountain that enfolds us with its rugged beauty, fosters numerous forms of recreation, and provides some with spiritual peace as well.

One very important part of our community is our excellent schools. Both the elementary and middle schools in the Kyrene district and the high schools in the Tempe Union district are among the best in the state, if not the nation. They are a major reason many of us moved to the Ahwatukee area and came to love this community. Strong schools provide the backbone for a strong, healthy community.

It is incumbent upon all of us who love this community to try to keep it from being harmed in any fundamental way. That is why it is essential that we all support both of our school districts by not allowing their funding to be cut. The budget override continuations that are on the election ballot for Nov. 5 are not for the purpose of increasing funding for our schools. Voting for these continuations would do just what they say — continue the current level of funding for our schools.

PARC has interacted recently with both the Kyrene and Tempe Union governing boards. We have asked for their support for the children of Ahwatukee by voicing their opposition to the proposed freeway. The 10 Ahwatukee schools that are within a half mile of the proposed freeway would be especially negatively impacted if the freeway were to be built, to the point that the health of the children would be endangered.

Both school governing boards have responded by stating their opposition to the freeway for the sake of Ahwatukee children. They have shown their support for our community and our children. It is now time for all of us from Ahwatukee to support our school districts by voting for their budget override continuations. Let’s keep our community strong by maintaining excellence in our schools!

• Dr. Pat Lawlis has lived in Ahwatukee for more than 20 years and has been president of PARC (www.protectAZchildren.org) for the past six years.

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