By Diana Whittle
Community support of education continues to thrive in both the Kyrene and Tempe Union High School districts, evidenced by the recent passage by wide margins of three budget overrides and one bond-authorization extension.
While the election for the Kyrene district attracted only about 27 percent of the area’s registered voters, those
numbers spoke loudly, with passage of a bond reauthorization at 68 percent; a Maintenance and Operations override
at 64 percent; and a third override at 62 percent.
In the Tempe Union ballot measure, the district easily won approval to continue its 10 percent override and to
gradually increase the rate by 5 percent over the next few years to increase teacher and staff salaries.
The additional 5 percent will be used exclusively for teacher and staff salary increases.
Tempe Union area voter turnout was 24.02%, and passed at 63%.) Corey Woods, a former Tempe
councilmember and one of the chairs of the “Yes Support Our Schools” campaign, thanked voters for their
support of the override for TUHSD. “Residents’ support of the district will ensure that we can fully support
students, and continue to attract and retain our exceptional teachers, and maintain property values,” said Woods.
A thank-you video can be found at tempeunion.org.
Additional support came from the Chandler, Tempe and Ahwatukee chambers of commerce, which
campaign co-chair Michelle Hirsch credited with communicating to area businesses the importance of continued school funding.
“Most people who vote don’t have kids in schools,” noted Hirsch, “so it’s important for them to understand how
good schools enable less crime, safer neighborhoods, better property values and more people wanting to move in.”
Credit also went to members of the Kyrene Business Alliance and other businesses, which provided volunteer
time and more than $50,000 in contributions at the start of the pro- Kyrene campaign.
KBA was launched within months after the arrival of Superintendent Dr. Jan Vesely and coordinated in the
ensuing months by Joelle Green, the district’s business and community development coordinator.
KBA’s goal has been to engage the business community to support local schools and provide business partners
with an opportunity to meet with the superintendent to discuss topics of interest and provide feedback.
Volunteer time and in-kind donations also were received, including professional graphic-design assistance, labor in erecting and removing streetcorner campaign signs and providing office space and meals for phone bank
and canvassing volunteers.