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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions May 28, 2016

2/27/2014 8:58:00 AM
Letter: What's the real story here?


The Feb. 22 editorial, "What will an Arizona education really look like?" ignores a lot of mixed signals.

The Goldwater Institute usually opposes legislative attempts to control local decisions, but it's pushing SB 1100 -- even though different school districts obviously have different real estate considerations. Tucson may have too many campuses for a declining public school enrollment and not enough locations for private and state-sponsored schools. Cottonwood-Oak Creek, on the other hand, lost enrollment during the recession (and most campuses are still under-enrolled), but with the projected growth for the area, it couldn't afford to sell off property needed in the future.

What's the real story here?

Sen. Chester Crandell objected to SB 1100 on the grounds it puts "...the state in the role of trumping the property rights of school districts and their locally elected boards" (per "Lawmakers want to force schools to sell unused campuses" online 2/20/14). This is consistent with his overall states rights, local rights stance. But Sen. Crandell has just introduced SB 1254, which forbids school districts from calling override or bond issue elections in odd-numbered years (per article "Bill would allow school overrides only in even-numbered years" online 2/20/14) -- a clear trumping of school districts' right to decide when they need money from local property owners.

What's the real story here?

And then there's the flap over increasing the school bond indebtedness cap from 10 percent to 20 percent of the total assessed value of all property within the district.

Last year, the cap was increased. Then Wesley Harris, Original North Phoenix Tea Party founder and chairman of "We the People AZ Against Common Core," tried to put a referendum killing the increase on the 2014 ballot and failed. (For details, see article "Arizona voters could decide enhanced bonding capacity for school districts" online 6/29/13.) Now we have Sen. Al Melvin's SB 1310, banning Common Core in Arizona Schools (article online 2/20/14).

Even though Governor Brewer has already given the go-ahead for Arizona's version. Many schools are already transitioning. And tea-baggers are usually in favor of local, as opposed to statewide or federal, funding of local issues and have been decrying the dumbing down of school curriculums for decades.

What's the whole story here?

Why is our editor babbling about horses and camels when there are so many griffins stalking our schools?

T. Hearn


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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, June 12, 2014
Article comment by: itsy bitsy Spider

Whitewater, maybe?

Although that's quite a stretch, Mr. Slater.

Posted: Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Article comment by: T. Hearn

Additional reply to Feb. 22 editorialist
On second thought, your reference to camels seems particularly apt. Relative to tents and to straws, as well as to horses.

Reply to Slater Slater
I'm sure Hillarycare isn't affecting Hillary Clinton's health insurance at all, although it may quash her dream of being the first female president of the United States in her own mind.

But I fail to see the connection to real estate considerations in Cottonwood.

Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Article comment by: Slater Slater

It's all good,Hillary knows hard times.After her
husband left the office it was hard to pay two
mortgages.I feel for her.I bet her healthcare didn't run out on our dime.
Hook her up to a lie detector and watch her sqwirm.

Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Article comment by: T. Hearn

Reply to itsy bitsy Spider:
Yes and no. Kirk Waddle has done a wonderful job managing Minus finances in extremely difficult circumstances. I'm sure anyone that didn't consider his judgment would be missing very pertinent details. If he ever clung to a strategy that changing times had shattered, though, (as Tucson Unified School District has) he might need the Coast Guard to save the ship.

As far as leasing for a vineyard is concerned, I thought Mingus finally decided to sell that property over a year ago. Tim Foist asked Cottonwood to rezone for high residential density to facilitate the highest price possible. Cottonwood approved the rezoning in May of 2013, with stipulation that it would revert to single family units if the development plan wasn't complete within five years.


Currently, those 15 acres aren't zoned agricultural. And I'm not sure Superintendent Tighe is aware of the difficulties involved. According to Mark Lineberger of the Cottonwood Journal Extra, "The school board had considered other uses for the property over the years, including potential expansion of the athletic fields or the campus, but the presence of Camino Real, previously State Route 279, that serves part of the nearby Verde Villages, made these plans impractical."


What is the point of hanging onto that property for 15 to 20 years? The impracticality isn't going to disappear.

Posted: Monday, June 9, 2014
Article comment by: Privatize Everything

Yes, privatization of everything is the goal of many of these organizations and legislators. We are already seeing this, whether it's Democrats or Republicans, in many instances. It is time to think past the party affiliations and realize that privatization will hurt, not help, us in the long term. Corporate run anything, whether education, prisons, water systems, public lands, usually means agendas and profits at the expense of working people and the environment. Beware of of corporate agendas when it comes to passing laws!

Posted: Monday, June 9, 2014
Article comment by: itsy bitsy Spider

We may have to worry about vineyards as well, Mr. Hearn. An attachment to fallow fields isn't limited to Tucson.

"Vineyard could occupy vacant Mingus land" VI 6/5/14

Personally, I think Kirk Waddel is a better judge of when to hold and when to fold Mingus property than anyone at the Goldwater Institute. Don't you?

Posted: Friday, March 14, 2014
Article comment by: T. Hearn

Reply to PF:

That's part of it, I'm sure. Textbook publishers, IT hardware manufacturers, and software developers stand to gain billions on peripherals that don't address the needs of students and teachers. But I don't think money is the whole story, either.

There's power politics and election year posturing. There's also, as the editorial emphasized, the perennial tug-of-war among prescriptivists, Progressives, and those who think both are control freaks. Good teachers, though, are past masters at teaching in spite of whatever directives and new, improved methods the hierarchy throws at them.

I'm mainly worried about the national test = curriculum control issue. Higher standards are needed, and national benchmarks could be helpful. But the USA is how big? Composed of how many independent states? With how many different economic groups, ethnic backgrounds, and regional interests? The curriculum has not yet been devised that fully engages all the students in the city of Los Angeles, much less New York. And we're going to cram all fifty states into a curriculum that can be assessed by one pre-programmed test?

For an article that addresses this in depth, go to http://educationnext.org/the-international-experience/. In this report from a recent conference on "What U.S. schools and cannot learn from other countries," the consensus among educators from Harvard to Shanghai High School was that a national curriculum could stifle reform in the US.

The unexplored question was to what degree a national test-driven curriculum would cripple school choice, if at all. I wish CCSS opponents would tell us. I don't see the AIMS-NCLB effect doing that in Az.

Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2014
Article comment by: Breathing taxed...

when politicians passed Obamacare mandating purchase of product from big-political-donor private industry.

Just wait. These guys will find a way to mandate diet and exercise for "the common good."

Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Article comment by: Mr. Hearn

I read a bit the other day about the ultimate Republican/Conservative goal of privatizing education-- you know, making money off of everything is paramount-- at the expense of Public Education.

One step at a time...

These guys will find a way to make money from the air we breathe.


Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: Dubh E. Yess

"...100% Education Voucher System..."

First you have to find an effective administrator with a detailed plan that convincingly demonstrates how this would save money and improve education.

Then they have to overcome the public education establishment to implement it.

Thanks for trying and good luck.

Posted: Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Article comment by: Slater Slater

We the people own public schools and the
public needs to decide,not a lawyer.

Posted: Monday, March 3, 2014
Article comment by: T. Hearn

Reply to Frank Henry:

Well, that may be the root of the Tea Party's seeming contradictions. But if that's behind the Goldwater Institute's position on HB 1100, I haven't found it on the Institute's website...just the situation in Tucson, which you'd think Tucson could handle without a statewide ordinance.

Posted: Saturday, March 1, 2014
Article comment by: What's the...story here? ...

T Hearn asked a good question.

A possible good answer is the state of Arizona
needs to put 100% Education Voucher System
in place...Where each child (k-12) gets a
voucher via their parents for home, private and/or
public schooling.

It can be done. Lets do it.

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