Opinion

Maxwell: Why we need to support SUSD now more than ever

Posted 9/22/22

People in Scottsdale who know me know that I am a strong advocate for public schools. Yet I don’t have any kids in the SUSD school system.

Why do I care so much about public education when …

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Opinion

Maxwell: Why we need to support SUSD now more than ever

Posted

People in Scottsdale who know me know that I am a strong advocate for public schools. Yet I don’t have any kids in the SUSD school system.

Why do I care so much about public education when it does not affect me directly? That is a question I am often asked. My reply is an easy one. Because I am a homeowner.

According to a recent report by the National Bureau of Economic Research, for every $1 invested in public schools increase home values by $20. As residents, we should be focused on keeping Scottsdale a desirable location for employers who bring high-paying jobs to our community. Ask anyone who works with economic development, and they will tell you that communities with failing schools are a non-starter for companies looking to relocate.

On Nov. 8 SUSD will ask the voters of Scottsdale to approve a new District Additional Assistance Override. This new name for the permission of the voters to allow the district to exceed spending limits may cause some confusion among Scottsdale voters. Make no mistake these funds are needed, reasonable and essential.

How does a District Additional Assistance Override differ from bonds? The bond package approved in 2019 allowed SUSD to rebuild several schools that were aging and needed replacing. This new District Additional Assistant override must be used for specific uses such as books, athletic equipment, technology, musical instruments, and desks and chairs.

It makes no sense to build these beautiful new buildings and then not populate them with furniture.

The District Additional Assistance override will extend the current override for an additional seven years. This will allow SUSD to contend with inflationary pressure and provide the SUSD with a sustainable, reliable source of funds to provide the quality educational experience our students deserve.

The cost for most households will be negligible. The average Scottsdale homeowner will be asked to increase the current cap by $48.56 per year. That is $4.05 per month.

A great ROI when considering the lift to property values quality schools provide.

I spend more to dry clean a single shirt every month.

Join me in enthusiastically endorsing the District Additional Assistance Override. The cost of not approving the DAA is exorbitant. It is estimated that rejection of the DAA will cost the district over $7 million per year. If our schools are lacking resources now, what will that kind of deficit do to the experience? SUSD students will receive?

For me the choice is clear. A small price to pay for higher property values, a workforce-ready employment pool, and a desirable locale for economic development.