Why didn’t the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District delay selling bonds, which will mean increased property taxes for Rio Rico and Tubac residents?

Nearly a year ago, well before the COVID-19 pandemic, voters gave the approval to sell $22.5 million in bonds for new building construction, a swimming pool, tennis courts and new synthetic grass on the high school football field, among other projects.

Why the rush, in the face of this public health crisis? Are there urgent safety concerns that can’t be postponed?

If the five school board members and Superintendent David Verdugo had held a more recent town hall forum asking residents their opinion, they might have heard enough to cause them to hold off.

The pandemic has resulted in massive job losses, deaths in the community which people are mourning, closing of businesses, and major changes to public schooling.

The district finance director, Isela Brown, said recently that the district has already sold $16.6 million in bonds. The district web site shows four projects are slated to start in January. Those are Rio Rico High School cafeteria expansion, high school classroom expansion, high school performing arts center, high school media center and a new building for diesel mechanics, welding and veterinary science.

How can the district in good conscience continue to add to the tax burden now when there are so many unemployed residents, along with people who lost a large portion of their annual income? Can bond money spending be halted for a year or two to give residents and business owners the time to catch up a bit?

Kathleen Vandervoet


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