The Main Stream

Nov 3, 2009 1:52 AM

Analysing TUSD props 401 and 402

Proposition 401: The Tucson Unified 'maintenance and operations budget override' would increase budgets by about seven percent over the next seven years.

It would help guarantee full-day kindergarten and upgrade the internet system.

Proposition 402 is a nine million dollar budget increase for TUSD to fund its "technology capital outlay budget override."

TUSD is asking voters to approve a tax override to cover money lost to state budget cuts and to boost technology in the district.

Like most propositions, there are two sides to the story, so we begin at the home of Anne Eve Petersen, who supports prop 401 and 402, and her 8-year-old son Lars.

"At my son's school, we have no librarian, no counselor, we lost 12 teaching positions and our PTA is paying for school supplies," says Petersen.

Due to education cuts TUSD lost 300 full-time jobs, including 26 librarians, and 35 counselors. If passed, 401 would generate about $187 dollars per student to restore positions.

402 would upgrade 10-year-old computers.

"We have to be preparing them to have 21st century learning skills, and they need modern equipment to do that," says Petersen.

On the flip side, opponents to prop 401 and 402 say TUSD has a history of mismanaging tax payer funds, so why vote yes this go-round.

Mary Terry Schiltz is with the Pima County Association of Tax Payers.

"Unfortunately, I wish we could say things have improved, but they're not, in terms of fiscal management for certain," says Schiltz.

She hopes voters say no to both propositions.

"There's just no need for this. We're getting $59 million in stimulus money for next two years, and getting desegregation money worth $65 million," says Schiltz.

Schiltz says the money is there, adding the district needs to prioritize spending, and not rely on overrides.

While Pederson hopes voters stop dwelling on past administration's mistakes and invest in the future.

Similar overrides were shot down by voters in 2004 and again in 2008.

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