Greenburg: Join me in supporting the Scottsdale Schools override renewal

My name is Jann-Michael Greenburg. I am a proud graduate of Arcadia High School, a member of Scottsdale Unified School District’s school board, and I wholeheartedly support the upcoming maintenance and operations override continuance.

Public education plays a critical role in the United States, educating some 51 million students (or 90% of school-aged children) every year.

Jann-Michael Greenburg

This institution’s prominence has been highlighted time and again by the Supreme Court. In the seminal decision of Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the court stated that “Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments […] In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education.”

It is certainly true of Scottsdale, where education and neighborhood schools play prominent roles in our community. SUSD educates over 23,000 students annually. It is our job to provide a high-quality education and a broad range of educational opportunities to ensure that every child is prepared for any career path he or she chooses.

Achieving these educational goals played a significant role during my election in 2018. I argued for greater access to computer programming and “adulting” classes where students could learn important life skills (e.g., how to pay taxes), increased funding for the performing and visual arts (which is both economically efficient and provides life-long educational benefits), and improving our special education (helping the most vulnerable in our society).

— Jann-Michael Greenburg, SUSD governing board member

I also established goals to form an internal auditing department to improve efficiency, reduce waste, and protect against corruption. Our administration is now reviewing and preparing plans for its development. I am also working on implementing an inspector general’s position to handle complaints and making discussions in our District as open and accessible to our community as possible.

For example, we have amended the timings of public comments to make them easier to attend and have removed restrictions on what the public may say during those comments. Additionally, I have reported instances where rules might have been violated to the appropriate authorities promptly. This should be expected of all of our public officials.

All of these goals and actions that I have taken are things that I was elected to do. But many of them and others will not be possible without proper funding. Failing to renew SUSD’s maintenance and operations override equates to a loss of roughly $20 million for our students. It potentially means new austerity measures by cutting funding for computer programing and performing and visual arts classes. It could mean no internal auditing department – no inspector general.

We risk reducing our ability to revitalize the Coronado Learning Community (which is perhaps one of the most consequential projects facing our District) and improve our special education services. The benefits of a strong education system – beyond the obvious benefits to the students we educate — are widely known. Well-prepared students increase business’ willingness to create jobs here in Arizona. Good public schools mean higher, more stable property values.

To help achieve these goals, we all need to continue investing in SUSD above and beyond the minimum the state requires. The cost burden on each of us individually is small — SUSD has the lowest property tax rate in Arizona, and renewing the override maintains the current tax rate — but the benefits are incalculable.

Please join me in voting “yes” to renew SUSD’s maintenance and operations override this November.

Editor’s note: Mr. Greenburg is a Scottsdale resident and member of the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board

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