How did we get here?
As the Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD) began working on the 2021-22 school year budget, it became apparent the CCUSD faced a shortfall of about $4.3 million. In January 2021, CCUSD welcomed a new superintendent, Dr. Cort Monroe.
As required by Arizona law, all school districts must present a balanced budget by June 30 for the coming school year. Immediately, Dr. Monroe went to work finding ways to implement efficiencies and reduce the budget to meet the state requirement.
CCUSD has implemented many outstanding programs over the past several years. As intended, these programs have given our students new and exciting learning opportunities. Unfortunately, permanent and consistent ongoing funding for each new program did not entirely exist. State funding does not sufficiently fund our schools. New programs existed on reserve accounts (funds generally earmarked for capital expenses like roof and A/C repairs). Unfortunately, years of using reserve funds have left the reserve accounts at a minimum.
In theory, property tax revenue generated in CCUSD is adequate to fund our schools and fairly compensate our teachers. Sadly, Arizona state law equalization takes a massive bite out of generated property taxes revenue. In 2020, because of the State equalization formula/law, over $4 million of property tax revenue was never seen by CCUSD. Instead, state law required that money went directly into the education equalization fund. Even more alarming, in 2021, that figure is estimated to double to $8 million!
Yes to the bond:
Supporting the bond will allow CCUSD to repair buildings, improve security measures (as directed by homeland security audits), and upgrade technology, for instance. By 2023 upgrade capacity for the majority of the CCUSD Chromebook devices will be exhausted.
Those devices will generally be rendered useless, which will immediately and directly impact the delivery of instruction and student testing throughout the district. Additionally, the bond will allow CCUSD to free up $800K in its M&O budget (these would be funds used for teacher salaries,
learning materials, etc). I support education and providing our students with a great learning environment, and I support the bond.
For additional information about CCUSD’s fiscal history, go to SonoranNews.com and search for CCUSD.