It’s a matter of choice when you send your children for their education in Scottsdale.
If you can afford it, you choose a private, parochial, maybe even that high priced charter school. If you lack that financial ability, you can send your children to other public school districts or other charter schools that don’t demand such a great financial burden.
What is left, and what used to be the only no cost choice, is the public school system for Scottsdale.
The public school system in Scottsdale is the Scottsdale Unified School District, SUSD.
SUSD is losing this battle of educational choice. Education has been divided into privates, charters, and other choices for decades now. What has SUSD done to try to adapt or try to compete? These other choices did not suddenly appear, so where is the plan to compete? Do the citizens of Scottsdale not care that the public school system in Scottsdale is allowed to empty out? Scottsdale taxpayers are funding this public school system. Where is the hue and cry to demand change from SUSD?
Since there is no demand for change, one in three children in Scottsdale go elsewhere. SUSD loses that student and the funding the state provides. SUSD has made the choice very easy for the public. SUSD is offering a lesser educational product, and parents don’t want that.
The district can boast about its ratings, yet the parents can clearly see the schools around them don’t match that rating given to the district. So the parents make the choice and put their children in other schools. Every time that happens SUSD is losing not only that child, but the funds from the state of Arizona, which is tied to that child.
Thinking about the child, this is the question every citizen in Scottsdale should ask “Why doesn’t SUSD compete and try get more children into its schools?” If that question is not constantly asked and answered, this public school district will continue to contract. Each child that leaves SUSD is taking the funding the state provides. There is no vote or override available to get more children.
After the vote approving the override, the public should have had a clear path to improvement for SUSD. Where is that path? Is it now OK to let children leave SUSD and do nothing to try to compete and keep the students?
Has the override become an empty promise? Oh wait, the override never promised change.
There are promises of restoration to what was prior, but did that get students into SUSD? No.
The district provides enrollment information. Year after year it clearly shows that does not work. So the voters gave the district more money, but there is no clear path given for improvement.
With no improvement the parents are choosing other educational choices. So is anyone going to demand change? Your tax dollars are funding this public school system.
Is this the default choice the taxpayers of Scottsdale? Parents with children are increasingly placing the children into another educational choice, and still pay for the collapsing SUSD with their taxes. That is not a great choice, it is time for the public to demand change from SUSD.
Editor’s note: Mr. Richard is a Scottsdale Schools parent