As I see it, the voters rejected Kyrene School District’s bond override, the Legislature has reduced school funding, the Goldwater Institute threatens lawsuits to municipalities that provide services that can be provided by the commercial market.

KDS has the principle responsibility of providing staffing and facilities for its students.

As a property owner, an appreciable part of my property tax goes to funding our schools. I see no reason why KDS should use my tax dollars to subsidizes a private organization’s activities. KDS should seek full cost for providing its facilities.

If private volleyball organizations can seek out and obtain commercial facilities, then maybe Pony baseball can approach the Gila River Indian Community or others and lease out some of their fallow land and develop the fields. If the market forces are there, then Pony baseball should be able to find a competitively priced facility. If not then they need to pony up.

Stephen Dempsey

(1) comment

rone

Stephen:

I am the President of the Ahwatukee Foothills PONY Baseball Association and appreciate your comments. The bigger picture view is that Ahwatukee has a severe shortage of 'commercial' youth sports fields for all youth sports and through the cutbacks that have occurred in our public schools, over 50% of the physical education time no longer exists. This cutback may be a contributing factor as to why every one of these youth organizations are seeing growth in our registrations.

This is not just a PONY issue, but a community issue that affects every single Ahwatukee family that wants to provide a positive sports outlet for their child. If this was solely a PONY issue, then Ahwatukee Little League, AYSO, SEV and other youth sport organizations would not also be supporting the cause. This group has never asked Kyrene to subsidize or take dollars away from our children in the classroom, but to come up with rates for use of their facilties that compete with other commercial facilties. KSD's current rates are 200% of the next highest priced private facility and had proposed rates in excess of 500% higher than these facilities. At this time, and from the article published yesterday, KSD and our youth organizations continue to collaborate on solutions to the rate structure that ensures tax and override dollars stay where they should and still charge the individual volunteer based, not-for-profit organizations a fair and competitive rate.

To sum it up, more kids want to be active and there are not enough City park fields to accommodate this demand. Let's look for a community based solution that works for our future and not turn this into a political debate.

Don't hesitate to contact me directly with any further questions. I'm on our website at www.ponybaseballaz.com.

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