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SOCUSD Education Budget Override Discussion

sedona oak creek unified school district logoSedona AZ (September 26, 2013)This fall Sedona voters will decide whether or not to authorize the Sedona Oak Creek Unified School District to override its revenue control limit, and thereby increase its spending, by a maximum of 15% per year for seven years.

You will have an opportunity to hear differing viewpoints regarding the override proposal and its ramifications on Wednesday, October 2, 2013, from 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) Lunch and Learn program, in Room 34 of the Yavapai College Sedona campus on Cultural Park Road, off Rte 89A across from Red Rock High School.

Speaking in favor of the override will be Zach Richardson, Chairman of the Yes For Sedona Schools Committee. He will be challenged by Mike Schroeder representing local citizens who do not share the committee’s reasoning for the yes override and questions the District’s fiscal management.

osher lifelong learning center sedona 2OLLI Lunch and Learn is a “town square” for local residents to gather, chat, and interact with speakers who make a difference in what occurs in our community. This enjoyable, informative, weekly community event is free and open to all.

Bring a lunch (or come for complimentary coffee, tea, water, and a little snack) and join the conversation at 12:30 p.m., or come from 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. to hear the speakers and join the dialogue.

Schroeder and Richardson will make short presentations followed by a Q & A discussion about the pros and cons of the proposed education budget override.

OLLI is a local, volunteer, peer-to-peer, adult education program. The Fall term is now underway with most classes and workshops still available for a nominal fee. For more information, call 928-649-4275.

For the best in Arizona news and views, read www.SedonaEye.com daily!

For the best in Arizona news and views, read www.SedonaEye.com daily!




  1. Terry says:

    We can go “get educated” but bottomline is that our school district wasted money on a ridiculous now “in the red” auditorium for tourists and we have a handful of schools, hardly any kids in those schools, and they can’t get a good education with the millions they get now???? BUT they can build a performing arts center that loses money?????

    NO more money for you.

  2. Ron says:

    Terry, you should get your facts straight before you rant.

    The voters of Sedona overwhelmingly approved the bond issue for the performing arts center, solar power for all of the schools, updating all the schools to modern standards and building a new administration building. That is a fact. Maybe you don’t like that, but the bond program was voted in by the tax payers of the Sedona Oak Creek School District, and those obligations aren’t going away. And the tax money to pay off those bonds is committed for the life of the debt service, and isn’t available for other purposes. Schools do need facilities, and I think that no matter how angry you are about this subject, I think you might agree that the kids need a place to learn.

    The Performing Arts Center was not built for tourists (who pay all the taxes in Sedona anyway) but for the citizen tax payers of the School District. I would like to see it better utilized too. I don’t know if it’s in the red, but it is used by many local arts organizations as well as for school events, and it is a good asset for the community.

    I don’t know where your “hardly any kids in the schools” comment comes from. I do know that the money provided by the state of Arizona for primary and secondary education has been slashed over the past few years, and per pupil funding is dramatically lower than it was before the Great Recession. The override is merely an attempt to bring per pupil spending up to what it was before the major cuts implemented by the legislature and governor.

    I am personally grateful that prior generations saw the wisdom in funding public education and providing you and I with great educational opportunities. I believe we owe it to future generations and to our great country to continue this tradition, and that’s why I will be voting for this override in November.

  3. Warren says:

    “… tourists (who pay all the taxes in Sedona anyway) …”

    I know what you mean. Without fail, every time I am out shopping anywhere in Sedona some tourist jumps into the cash register line and pays all the locals’ sales taxes. I’ve never seen anything like it. The best part is, they then immediately leave town and don’t use any government supplied services whatever. Tourists are the main reason we moved here!

  4. Ron:

    You said “I am personally grateful that prior generations saw the wisdom in funding public education…”

    Based upon this statement, I think I would have to believe you to be a victim of public education rather than a beneficiary of it. Consider this:

    Of the 1.66 million high school students in the class of 2013 who took the SAT, only 43 percent were academically prepared for college-level work, according to this year’s SAT Report on College & Career Readiness. For the fifth year in a row, fewer than half of SAT-participants received scores that qualified them as “college-ready.”

  5. Paul says:

    I saw a Red Rock High schooler a while back in front of Walgrens. He was trying to get donations for a HS sport program that he was involed in !! ( can’t remember which one ) . The program was defunded because the last time the School budget override came to a vote it was defeated!! Yes!!! I will vote for the Education Budget Override so this kid doesn’t have to beg dollars at a Walgrens to participate in a sport he enjoys!!

    Most likely those that voted against it last time walked right on by this kid, so proud of themselves, without even making a contribution!!

  6. Sylvie says:

    Voting no. Vote no.

  7. Quality education starts at home,

    When parents teach their children lessons about the consequences of their behavior then quality teachers will be able to teach these children.

    Quality students isn’t the results of expensive schools, funded teachers unions, over-paid and underperforming school administrators, school boards, teachers and expensive sports programs.

    When businesses aren’t able to find adequate employees that are punctual, dependable, drug-free, reliable, trustworthiness with a genuine work ethic that has the ability to communicate, read, write and do simple math problems then someone has failed to provide the basics required for survival. Add in proper dress code, personal appearance and the picture gets far more complicated.

    If you have a conversation with businesses owners in your community they may be willing to share their hiring frustration with you.

    I don’t say this to be mean spirited, I say it because it’s the message I hear from businesses I work with across the country.

    It’s time for parents to get back to being parents and to quit being your child’s best friend, our nation’s future depends on it.

    It would be a good first step for parents and their children to have dinner with each other. Though I’m not LDS, I will tell you that many years ago my wife and I adopted a LDS program that our children have told us that made a difference to them and it’s called “Family Home Evening” as I remember it being called.

    Gary Chamberlain
    Cornville AZ-USA
    Vietnam veteran

  8. Paul says:

    Gary, not saying what you say is not true about family time etc!! What does that have to do with a kid who has to beg dollars out in front of Walgens because his sport program got defunded!! What is that called character building? So what are u suggesting, shut down the schools or not properly fund them so we can eat dinner together? That’s the solution in itself?

  9. Paul says:

    Oh and by the way Gary, what kind of school district did you kids go to? Did it have proper funding so a kids sports program wasn’t shut down? Did your kids play sports? If so did he/she have to beg for dollars at the Walgrens? Did you cry foul when your school taxes went up while your kids were attending? Just wondering

  10. Paul says:

    This was suppose to go before my last post!! Gary not disagreeing with you about family time/values etc! By what does that have to do with a kid begging dollars at the Walgrens? What do u called that “character building? What shall we do close our schools or significantly defund them so we can all say home and eat dinner together!!??

  11. Sharlett says:

    The Issue is simply about increasing the school districts expenses by 15% for the next 7 YEARS??? WOW – they make it sound like chump change!

    The issue is not about what Parents teach their children! Let me be very clear on my dedication to my children and my experiences as a retired teacher.

    The dollar override issue is about facts and accountability of how our children are taught and at what level – and as equally important – How this Board of the School District spends our money to their own wish list items rather than to educate our children so they can compete fairly and with a great education (vs an empty performance center).

    Lets look back to RRN 8/9/13 front page article “AIMS releases Sedona’s grades” and I quote: (Point limits are 140 to 200)

    Sedona charter school got 140 points out of 200 while our high school only got 3 points higher. The Big Park School only got 131 points and West Sedona School only got 114 points.

    And yet our school district ignores the amount of $ they spent on the in “the red” preforming arts center as a major drain to the education of our kids? (as Terry clearly and correctly stated).

    Can anyone just imagine how much benefit our kids would have received if that $$$ would have actually been spent on education vs a in the “red” venue?

    Next, lets look at enrollment: (RRN 9/11/13); West Sedona School is down 450 kids, Big Park School is up a whopping 6 kids and the Sedona high School is down by 3 kids. So I’m thinking our district is not getting the revenue they want as a result of the huge drop in kids attending and now they want us to make up the difference? NO WAY!

    Then lets look at fact that the high school is now teaching a class only in Spanish in order to teach Spanish – Mexican – history!

    Now, lets look at the Theory of our responsibilities as parents and tax payers; Yep, we all owe a forward motion to guaranteeing the next generation a great education! I beg to differ that a class taught only in Spanish, that a Preforming Arts Center now takes away valuable dollars from our kids is our responsibility and now we are supposed to pay the difference?


    I not only vote NO – I ask the folks who have paid mega bucks on their vote yes campaign to rethink their expenditures and give that $ to the school and STOP asking the rest of us to pay for a bad business plan!

    I do agree with the person who said we need to teach our children “the consequences of their behavior”…..think that is what the School Board and all the folks paying for the mega ads need to be ready to do. Isn’t it time for them to produce higher AIMS results? After all that should be our method of determining just how good this district is – or is NOT!

  12. Brenda says:

    Question for Paul: And just what does funding sports have to do with quality education? Of course the few who turn professional make so much money they have no need to read or write. How about maybe some of the successful sports pros generate funding for kiddies soccer and the like.

    Gary Chamberlain & Sharlett, you have my vote. Good thinking but it’s too logical for the main stream to understand.

  13. Jim says:

    Gary Chamberlain and Sharlett, you have my vote as well. Both of you brought out some very salient points that people need to consider as they vote on this very unnecessary override. It’s time to be more fiscally responsible!! Vote NO!!

  14. Paul says:

    The one example at Walgrens that day was just one tangible example of how not passing the last budget override affected a kid who was in a sports program!! Not saying Math , writing, science etc are not important!!!! Im sure all of those programs were affected in a negative way by insufficient funding!! It’s the kids that wind up the short end !! Even the ones that have a good family life and parents that care!!

  15. Silly observation?

    When I, along with all of those pick up trash on the highway, I ask this question, “What are the parents that were one time children, learning in their homes and our schools?

    If I measure our societies success in the home, work place and schools by the trash on our highways then I give these folks a grade of “F” for we are failing as a society.

    Gary Chamberlain
    Cornville AZ
    Vietnam veteran

  16. Warren says:

    It’s not about “insufficient funding”. It’s about insufficient budgeting.

  17. Mike says:

    Is that correct about the schools ratings? The west Sedona school admin and teachers should be fired or transferred. They have no credibility. I am ashamed of that school. The Oak Creek school board should resign for the appalling record of these schools.

  18. @Mike Second that. Disgusting. They bit the hand that fed them in the School District!

    No more money for incompetent performance.

    The district cries foul because they lost money they had. HOW IS IT THAT THE MONEY YOU HAD DIDN’T DO SQUAT FOR OUR KIDS?????

    Answer that Zach Richardson et al who come begging for more saying they need it to do more…you had more and you didn’t do squat.

    Convince me that I’m wrong!

  19. Nick says:

    What are the arguments for voting yes?

  20. Dennis says:

    Bravo Mike, Linda and others in the office. Thank you for sharing your astute observations.

  21. Dennis says:

    So Nick asks why vote yes. Well, according to Paul so kids won’t have to beg for money at Walgreen’s so they can play sports at school. Now if that doesn’t give everyone a clue about why the AIMS results are what they are then what else will?

  22. Sharlett says:

    Warren is correct: Override issue is about insufficient budgeting…aka….no acceptance of they can’t just make a list of wants turn into having $$$ Unless WE, the tax payers pay the bill.

    Boy I wish I could run my household budget like that! This old house would be so modern and it didn’t cost me anything! …….opps that isn’t going to happen cuz no tax payers are rushing in to pay for my “needs”. So I’m left with doing a priorities list and balancing it against our household income. Novel idea? Not really. Wish the Sedona Chamber , Sedona City and Staff would think that way too.

    Mike: Yes those numbers are factual as can be found in the RRN with same dates I supplied.

    This override election isn’t about a kid asking for donations for a sports team: this is about core education quality classes (spoken in English), that provide our kids with the best education available….and until all the fat gets cut and core classes produce well over Aims 140 – VOTE NO. Where is the Districts accountability?

    Linda and Nick and Dennis: You are all correct!

    The Cinderella concept of Motherhood and Apple Pie seems the only reason to vote Yes.

    Lack of Accountability – on all levels – is reason to VOTE NO.

    Perhaps a no vote will produce a much better budgeting which will produce a much better level of accountability, much higher level of classroom education…and on and on.

    Hummmmm? Apple Pie vs Real accomplishments? Apple Pie smells good while real accomplishments grow the apple trees!

  23. Art says:

    @Ron and the rest of you staying quiet –

    If guilt is all you’ve got, it doesn’t hold up. Dispute the statistics in the RRN for us will you?

    What is the correlation between funding that provided the worst testing scores in the state and the local schools failing to teach?

    We’ve provided teachers and administrators with brand new schools and equipment, latest books and computers, they live and teach in a beautiful location not some inner city ghetto, and they failed to teach our children how to read and how to study? I want answers and not a hand that holds out its fat fingers for more cash and uses guilt and promises.

    Somebody said something about the school administration and teachers not delivering when we did fund you. Why continue to toss money at a problem that is definitely NOT money?

  24. Alice says:

    Has anyone else noticed there are NO opposing letters in the Voter Information Pamphlet?

  25. Jim says:

    Paul, for the life of me I can’t understand how you think a kid asking for donations to a sports program is cruel and unusual punishment!

    I lived in three states growing up and attended public schools. Every single state didn’t fund its school sports program and I and my teammates held more bake sales, flower sales, car washes, track meets, raffles, stationery, wrapping paper and more than you can imagine.

    Bet you did too. That’s why every time I see the kids at Weber’s holding a car wash or bake sale no matter what I go or donate.

    I made friends, learned to show up on Saturday mornings instead of sleeping in, met neighbors, learned to handle money and work for it, and more than you can imagine. I remember a car wash at 15 when I discovered how pretty girls are and asked a girl out on my first date.

    Kids should have to earn money for their programs. In one state we had to buy our textbooks on the theory we took better care of them and you better believe that theory worked when I lost a history book and had to pay for it by mowing my teacher’s lawn all summer in grade 9. My parents could have paid but thought this was a better teaching tool and they were right.

    I’m not that old, Paul. Graduated college in late seventies. I still think work ethics are taught and not magic.

  26. Carol says:

    I do like this site! My temper got a bit hot when reading some of the comments here and now I’ll toss in my 2 cents worth. Like Jim our school had sports programs that were P&R or athletic league sponsored by local businesses or hospital or work site or club group or similar & everyone could play and we played on local school & town fields. The difference? Every kid played. No loud mouth jock teacher failing you because he didn’t like your effort during the game or letting you slide by in class if you scored goals. You want to play you play. If you don’t play then parents don’t pay. Simple. Instead of 20 kids the entire town playing on one school team we had pee wee leagues on up every season. Fridays through Sundays were days when the neighborhoods were packed with kids playing on every field & when was the last time you saw the fields at the schools in Sedona heavily used. You got to be friends with kids from every walk of life and every neighborhood. The kids who couldn’t afford to pay had scholarships & everybody participated in fundraisers.

    Sedona offers softball leagues & other programs. There are soccer leagues around. Swim leagues swam in the local college or neighborhood pools. There was no duplication or school involvement. Even the arts programs were organized by local groups & my shopping center used to have weekend middle school kids art walks in the spring & fall. Teachers taught classes and came to games or walked by students artwork. They got involved with the sports & arts as private citizens, as members of the community. Guess what I’m trying to say is that I have changed my mind about the override & will vote no. I’m not convinced its necessary to teach kids. I am convinced its necessary to insure the golden cadillac & you teachers & administrators know exactly what I’m talking about.

  27. T=Ron says:

    Art, I was quiet because I have a life outside of attacking people who don’t agree with me. I work for a living, have a great relationship with my wife, enjoy my adult children, have vibrant friendships, and generally don’t much time complaining about all the things I perceive to be wrong in this beautiful town.

    I come to Sedona Eye when it gets boring on Sedona.Biz. I can always count on lots of ad hominem attacks on anyone who doesn’t agree 100% with the frequent commenters.

    This was an experiment in poking the hornet’s nest. It came out about as I expected. You guys have fun violently agreeing with each other in your echo chamber and trashing anyone who wants to do something different in this town.

    Remember, fear isn’t real.

  28. Mac says:

    Yes SB is boring, always was. You must be its lone reader. That said you did not poke the hornet’s nest. You gave a moronic self involved comment lacking evidence and are rightly challenged by your shallowness. Or should be. I’m voting yes on the override but not because of your dumber and dumb comments but because I chose to allow the schools to make many bad choices hoping they’ll get one right.

  29. Charlie says:

    I will vote yes because I intend to get involved in the next school board election UN – electing thinking we have a major administration and school board problem. There was a good point made here about the test scores and I’ll remember it when the candidates start touting achievements. Some like Ron can’t stand differing opinions. Better he sticks with reading something that’s less challenging, eh Mac?

  30. Rachel says:

    The man said fear isn’t real? What alien life form is he?

    Could someone step up to the plate and answer Nick’s question? Inquiring minds would like to know…

  31. Yes, let’s spend more money on a public education system which has accomplished all this (and please, submit your rebuttals):

    Two out of three eighth-graders can’t read proficiently and most will never catch up. (NAEP, 2011) (NAEP, 2011)

    Nearly two-thirds of eighth-graders scored below proficient in math. (NAEP, 2011)

    Seventy-five percent of students are not proficient in civics. (NAEP, 2011)

    Nearly three out of four eighth-and 12th-grade students cannot write proficiently. (NAEP, 2012)

    Some 1.1 million American students drop out of school every year. (EPE, 2012)

    For African-American and Hispanic students across the country, dropout rates are close to 40 percent, compared to the national average of 27 percent. (EPE, 2012)

    Our public school students trail their peers in most other industrialized nations.

    After World War II, the United States had the #1 high school graduation rate in the world. Today, we have dropped to # 22 among 27 industrialized nations. (OECD, 2012)

    American students rank 25th in math, 17th in science and 14th in reading compared to students in 27 industrialized countries.(OECD, 2012)

    By the end of the eighth-grade, U.S. students are two years behind in math compared to their peers in other countries. (OECD, 2009)

    The U.S. ranks behind 13 other countries in terms of the percentage of 25-34 year-olds who have completed some college coursework. (OECD, 2012)

    American students tend to perform worse in math and science as they age, according to recent studies measuring fourth- and eighth-graders’ academic achievement against other industrialized nations. Gaps with high performing countries like South Korea and Singapore are widening. (TIMSS, 2012)

    Not enough students reach college, and many who do are not prepared.

    Less than half of American students – 46 percent – finish college. The U.S. ranks last among 18 countries measured on this indicator. (OECD, 2010)

    Only one in four high school students graduate ready for college in all four core subjects (English, reading, math and science), which is why a third of students entering college have to take remedial courses. (ACT, 2011)

    Only 4 percent of African American students and 11 percent of Hispanic students finish high school ready for college in their core subjects. (ACT, 2011)

    Two-thirds of college professors report that what is taught in high school does not prepare students for college. (Alliance for Excellent Education)

    Many American children are not prepared to compete for careers or jobs in a 21st century knowledge-based economy.

    In order to earn a decent wage in today’s economy, most students will need at least some postsecondary education. (U.S. Department of Labor)

    Nearly 44 percent of dropouts under age 24 are jobless, and the unemployment rate of high school dropouts older than 25 is more than three times that of college graduates. (United States Department of Labor, 2012)

    Despite sustained unemployment, employers are finding it difficult to hire Americans with the skills their jobs require, and many expect this problem to intensify. (”Getting Ahead…” Business Roundtable, 2009, and “An Economy that Works,” McKinsey & Company, 2011)

    More than 75 percent of employers report that new employees with four-year college degrees lacked “excellent” basic knowledge and applied skills. (“Are They Really Ready to Work?” sponsored by The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the Society for Human Resource Management. Accessed January 15, 2008)

    Nearly half of those who employ recent high school graduates said overall preparation was “deficient.” (“Are They Really Ready to Work?” sponsored by The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the Society for Human Resource Management. Accessed January 15, 2008)

    The share of jobs in the U.S. economy needing a college degree will increase to 63 percent in the next decade. This will require 22 million new employees with college degrees. At the current pace, the nation will fall at least 3 million college degrees short. (A. Carnevale, N. Smith, and J. Strohl, Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Economic Requirements Through 2018 (Washington, DC: Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, 2010)

    Over the course of his working life, an American male with a college degree can expect to earn nearly $675,000 more; an American female $340,000 more -– far more than in any other country. (OECD, 2012)

    Americans who earn a college degree make a 40 percent higher salary than those with just a high school diploma. (“Are They Really Ready to Work?” sponsored by The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the Society for Human Resource Management. Accessed January 15, 2008)

    High school dropouts can expect to earn just 5 percent of what a typical graduate will make over the course of his lifetime. (College Board Advocacy & Policy Center, 2010)

  32. Dick says:

    In case you forgot, this was the result of all those taxes we paid, results worse than when they didn’t get the extra money.

    RRN 8/9/13 front page article “AIMS releases Sedona’s grades” and I quote: (Point limits are 140 to 200)

    Sedona charter school got 140 points out of 200 while our high school only got 3 points higher. The Big Park School only got 131 points and West Sedona School only got 114 points.

    Let’s hear this addressed.

  33. Sharlett says:

    J Rick – thanks for your great research and spot on points made.

    T=Ron – we all either do or have worked hard and pay taxes and glad you enjoy your life here but have you checked your tax bill lately the then compared the increase to the decrease in the performance of our local school district?

    Oh, T=Ron!!! Fear is very REAL! New Property Taxes, new Go-Bonds and new Special Districts Taxes are all very fearful and looking very real – just ask Council who keeps those drums beating as they continue to abdicate their basic responsibilities.

    Who ever said you are the Only reader of Sedona Biz when it becomes boring = right on!!! One thing you may not have caught onto when comparing Sedona biz to Sedonaeye.com is that this site continues to allow all to represent their stances – or in other words – the editor of sedonaeye.com does not take a stance and write editorials etc.

    Alice – there were no opposition in the voting pamphlet because none of us realized it was possible and we failed to pay attention… as we’ve been watching the crazy city council give up council authority to staff and then want to buy property at brewer road and at the Y……just don’t forget we are now paying attention to all of the issues!

    Mac you are 1000% correct.

    Rachel – you and I haven’t found any answers causing a yes Vote simply because there are none with merit.

    I Continue To Vote No On The School Override Ballot Issue. Easy decision based upon reality vs moon pies.

  34. Gandy says:

    I talked to my daughter about the school my grandkids go to here. She said there were a few good teachers and a lot of mediocre. She said teachers that are good are often not treated well by administrators and get beaten up by the system. We talked about a charter school but its numbers don’t look good. It’s not a good situation out there. Our family is all voting no on the extra money. It’s a waste.

  35. Reading in disbelief an article in the Red Rock News “Chamber: Vote ‘Yes’ on Sedona School District’s Budget Override” was maybe the “divine intervention” I was seeking to finalize my decision on this ballot measure.

    Wallowing through a bunch of tongue-tripping by author Jennifer Wesselhoff, defending the reasons to vote “yes” on this issue, it remains very troubling that a non-profit member-driven group would take a position on such a hot political issue. Not questioning the fuzzy legal justification for having done so, it just doesn’t sit well with me that unless members of the C of C were actually polled the holier-than-thou Board of Directors would speak on behalf of the whole enchilada.

    Not only did this off-beat article cinch up a NO vote, but from here on out I will make a point to ask local establishments whether or not they are members of the C of C. If the answer is “yes” I will take my business elsewhere.

    VOTING “NO”. Thank you, Chamber of Commerce!

  36. sharlett says:

    Glad to know Gandy and etc are voting NO!

    come on folks – lets all get real and check out our tax bills from Coconino county and ….well you can figure it out.

    It is still a Vote NO!

  37. Elsa says:

    No vote here and typically I would vote a yes. My niece teaches and what that Mrs. Gandy says is true!!! Abominable.

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