I am writing in response to the letter-to-the-editor penned by Charlie Slack urging a "no" vote on the upcoming bond and override issues for the Nogales Unified School District (NI, Set. 30).
Before I begin, it is imperative that I am transparent when giving my response. I am currently in my 35th year working for NUSD. In February of last year I was asked to join the administrative team as the grants director. I live within the boundaries of NUSD, and my daughter is a graduate of Nogales High School having also attended Coronado Elementary School and Desert Shadows Middle School.
I cannot lobby in favor for either measure. However, I am permitted to state the facts and to urge residents to vote, something Superintendent Steve Zimmerman has been doing in what he calls "loop outs" to various schools and civic organizations. And as someone who has written columns and articles on and off for this very publication, it is my moral obligation to set the record straight.
Here are the facts: NUSD is asking voters to approve two very separate issues. One is a bond measure that would pay for electrical, structural, and mechanical upgrades and repairs; roofing repairs; security system installations; a science building at NHS; and for the expansion and upgrades of athletic facilities that are used not only by students but also by the public.
The second issue is an override that would extend the current measure that was approved by voters. This proposal, if successful, will continue programs such as after-school tutoring, the International Baccalaureate program, athletic and music programs, and the recruitment and retention of qualified staff among other similar issues.
What would be the cost to property owners if both measures passed? For those who live in homes valued around $100,000 of assessed valuation, less than $11 a month. Charles, I ask you directly, how much did you spend that day at the American Legion meeting Mr. Zimmerman attended which merely ended up in a urinal?
Mr. Slack has some inaccuracies in his letter that should be countered. For one, he said that the district will be sending letters home with all students telling them to vote for the bond proposal. The district will not be doing any such thing. Mr. Zimmerman and other members of the administrative team, myself included, are conducting informational meetings that parents and community members can attend. And at every one, Mr. Zimmerman lays out the details given above and asks listeners to vote their conscience. If they want NUSD to provide these services in a safe and well-maintained environment, vote yes. If they do not or if they feel that spending an average of $11 a month more in taxes is asking too much, then vote no.
Mr. Slack also stated that: "if you notice, taxes never come down." Ironically, on the day his letter appeared, I received my tax statement from Caesar Ramirez. Last year I paid $950.82 for my Valle Verde home, and this year I owe $727.74 I was an English teacher and not a math instructor, but even I know that reflects a decrease. Charles, you should, too. My cost if both of these measures passed would be about $2.10 a week in increased taxes next year.
I merely ask residents to vote knowing the facts. Charles pointed out that when Mr. Zimmerman was asked, "Do you think this is a good time to have a bond election?" he answered: "I don't know." If you respect his honesty and don't, like Charles, take offense to someone telling it like it is, then respect that NUSD would not be asking for these measures if they were not needed, good times or not.
(Scott is an NUSD administrator and freelance writer.)