The Florence Unified School District is asking the residents of San Tan Valley, Florence and Coolidge to support their desire to take over three schools, currently located in San Tan Valley, but part of the Coolidge Unified School District.
I will continue to research this issue so that I don't miss anything before the vote in Nov, HOWEVER that said, today here are my 2 cents.
The consolidation being presented is misleading in my opinion. Info is being shared that "we" will be paying $60M for a new high school in 2 years so agreeing to pay $16M+ now is some how a deal.
- The School Facilities Board pays for new buildings.
- Just because they anticipated needing to build a new high school in a few years, does NOT automatically equate to finding the funding for it nor does it mean that I will be paying a piece of $60M to do so.
FUSD has stated numerous times that IF they were to build a new high school, they'd build the school near Magma Ranch - so why would they instead be considering purchasing a building clear on the opposite end of the community?
FUSD has stated numerous times that they aren't interested in the elementary or middle school - just the high school - so why try and take over all 3?
CUSD has offered to lease the high school to FUSD if they so choose. The only option is NOT to spend $16M now or $60M later. There are clearly other options.
No one is willing to address what will happen to the boundary lines IF the consolidation takes place. If the schools are needed to handle over population in the district, then everyone will be shifted. I went down this road several years ago when FUSD wanted to send my kids to school in Florence when I literally lived 1/4 mile away from the elementary school in my community. If you're concerned about property values, try to sell your home to a new family excited about moving into a community with a local school, only to learn that their children will be bused out of the area somewhere else.
It is being presented that the buildings will all sit empty if this doesn't happen. That is NOT true. Currently the elementary school and high school are open and filled with students. The building that used to house the middle school, is currently being leased out by several local businesses who needed commercial space, as well as the county (which I am not thrilled with, but that's for another discussion).
Next, what is the rush? With property taxes being increased & the community college district losing their mind and increasing taxes as well this year, we do NOT need any more tax increases.
And who goes out for a vote on a non election cycle? Is it simply to prepare for the upcoming 2016 election cycle?
On a personal level I have SERIOUS concerns about increasing the size & political reach of the Florence School District. While those concerns may not be a concern to others, they are to me and they too are adding to my decision re: the consolidation.
So when I weigh the options available vs the proposal being presented, the sudden urgency in having to do this now and the fact that they would be the third entity to try and raise my taxes in one year alone - I cannot support this effort.