Dear Altar Valley Families,
In February 2011 the Governing Board adopted Altar Valley 2020, our long-range planning and decision-making tool. This became our road map from where we were to where we wanted to be, and the plan is working very well. Altar Valley 2020 was a community effort that took us seven months to develop. No one person figured out this formula for success; it took a village.
Can we strike gold twice in Altar Valley? I am counting on it. I believe that when it comes to our kids, this community steps up. With the defeat of the override continuation (Proposition #408) in November, a number of tough decisions await us. One such decision is whether or not to proceed with an override election in November of this year. From what I have heard, much of the opposition toward the override continuation was based on misinformation and confusion about the issue in general. This is certainly not surprising as Arizona school finance is needlessly complex. Consequently, we need to do a better job of communicating the facts in a straightforward manner. We also need to hear directly from you about what you want for your school district.
To that end, I am proposing that community volunteers host small groups of their neighbors for casual coffee conversations. While sitting around a kitchen table or family room coffee table, informal conversations can take place in which all opinions can be heard. The goal is to start a dialogue, dispel the myths and misconceptions about school finances, listen to community concerns, and get input as to whether or not we should even attempt an override election again. This isn’t about swaying opinion; this is about learning the community’s opinion. Every opinion is to be respected.
We have been able to make a lot of advancements, add new programs, expand our technology resources, and create opportunities for our students; mostly through hard work and very aggressive pursuit of grants. We cannot make up a $443,000 budget cut without a direct impact to the programs we have worked so hard to develop. Our governing board vice president, John Williams, summed it up perfectly by saying, “We can’t pull a rabbit out of a hat if we don’t have a hat.”
You will be receiving a letter in the very near future with specific information on how you can get involved in our coffee conversations and have your voice heard. It really isn’t any more complicated than inviting a few friends, putting on a pot of coffee, and engaging in some great discussions about Altar Valley School District and your hopes, dreams, and beliefs for our schools. We will be right there with you.
Thank you for your willingness to get involved and provide valuable feedback. If you have any questions, please give me a call at 822-1484. I look forward to seeing you at a coffee soon.
Dr. Nathan McCann