From Curtis Finch Jr., PhD
The Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD) 2023 Bond and Override did not pass last month, but the good news is that DVUSD went out for the measures a year early, so the Governing Board can call for the same proposals for November 2024. DVUSD’s needs are not going to change in a year since our community will continue to grow as a part of the fastest growing county in the nation. Although the statewide voting data shows the campaign efforts against public school ballot initiatives were not specifically against DVUSD, we will still feel the financial impact if our measures do not pass in 2024.
DVUSD’s 2023 Bond request was designed to be ready for the next wave of growth that will develop over time. Another Anthem-like community is scheduled to spring up over the next decade on the west side of I-17. The leadership of DVUSD meets quarterly with the State Land Authority on the progress of all land sales in our zone and the development plans are all moving forward. The Bond request also focused on improving safety measures in our 40 schools and replacement cycles for old technology, transportation, etc., and won’t raise current tax rates - see www.dvusd.org/election for Bond and Override details.
The Override ballot proposal was also a continuation of the current tax rate that has been in place since 1991. The Override pays for six things that will have to be removed if voted out: 1) 8% of the salaries of each of the 4,000 employees in DVUSD (teachers, support staff, and administration); 2) free all-day kindergarten; 3) academic interventions for students; 4) extracurricular supports for students including athletic and fine arts programs; 5) specialty counselors and student support programs; and 6) class-size reduction. The dedicated $33 million will have to be reduced by $11 million over three years until the full phase-out in 2027 in our already short-staffed environment.
We believe the voters will approve both proposals in 2024 since DVUSD continues to excel in academics, the fine arts, and extracurricular activities, and has a long history of fiscal responsibility. DVUSD averages about 50 State titles in team and individual accolades each year, 52% of our 40 schools are labeled A+ School of Excellence, and 27 DVUSD schools received an A-rating from the Department of Education this past year, our highest district total ever. In the last four years, DVUSD has received two national and four Arizona awards from Forbes as the Best Mid-size Employer, and consistently receives the coveted Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting from the State.
Every public school is a reflection of its local community. The fact that DVUSD is so successful shows the commitment of our community that supports our school district. I have no doubt our community will continue to support our commitment to excellence this coming November. Great public schools mean lower crime, better training and education for our future workforce, and higher property values. This is true in every county in America, and its true here as well. So, thank you for your community support since 1991 and your continued support in 2024.
Dr. Finch is the Superintendent of DVUSD and can be reached at email@example.com.