Barry Goldstein: we taxpayers will never know if the AJUSD override is justified

Holly Stuber accuses me of inaccurately portraying the number of teachers who have left AJUSD because the last three override  efforts have been defeated (Letters, Oct. 28, 2015). One would think that having accused me of minimizing that number, she would have at least enlightened us with her claim of an accurate number. But as with all those supporters of this current override attempt and of the rejected attempts that preceded it, she fails to provide a single fact to support her “sky is falling” plea while urging taxpayers to pass an override that will affect us for seven years. As with the prior override attempts, we’re given no numbers on which to base our decision. How much is the claimed shortfall? Who knows. In what areas will the additional money be used and how will it be allocated? Who knows. What are the current teachers salaries and how does this compare with surrounding school districts? Who knows. I could go on with example after example of the solid information withheld from the voters but a perfect example is provided by Ms. Stuber. While accusing me of misrepresenting the facts, she states that 200 positions have been cut from the district since 2008.  But she doesn’t provide a clue as to how many of those were teachers or how those numbers compare with surrounding districts. One can only presume that the actual figures would have been provided if they were truly supportive.

Ms. Stuber next belittles my claim that class sizes exceeded 40 students when I went to school. She alleges my schools were segregated and as such were homogeneous, thus making teaching easier despite the large classes. But I was born, raised and attended public school from kindergarten through high school in Brooklyn, New York, hardly a hotbed of segregation. My classrooms were fully integrated and included students from all cultures and socio-economic levels. Just another misleading claim tossed out by Ms. Stuber as though it were gospel.

Finally, Ms. Stuber is right when she says my parents didn’t shoulder the burden of my education alone. I readily admit that they did so as part of the taxpaying residents of the community. However, unlike this override, they were not singled out and forced to pay more than the government allocated for education simply because a few bureaucrats  decided they can’t operate within the budgetary constraints set by the state.

Perhaps there is some merit to the claim of inadequate funding, which the override supporters ceaselessly contend.  The fact is we taxpayers will never know if the override is justified or if it is just another money  grab by another governmental entity that sees no reason to live within its means. Not when there are still taxpayer dollars to be spent, and when, just as done by Ms. Stuber, little or no specific justification need be given to the taxpayers.

Barry Goldstein
Apache Junction

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