At this point in the election cycle, voters are inundated with information—and requests for “yes” votes. This fall, PUSD voters’ ballots will contain two education initiatives: the PUSD 2020 Override and the Invest in Education Act, also known as Invest in Ed. So, what are they, and what do they mean for voters?
The PUSD 2020 Override
The PUSD 2020 Override is an 8% tax override on district voters’ property tax bill. For an average Prescott home (with an assessed value of $275,180), that works out to a tax increase of $22.51 per year over the existing override rate ($1.88 per month; $0.06 per day). The money from this override will go to teacher and staff salaries, helping improve recruitment and retention issues that arise, primarily, from Arizona funding schools at a lower rate than most states in the nation, and PUSD offering salaries below state and national averages. If PUSD voters do not pass this measure, PUSD must cut approximately $1 million from its existing budget.
The Invest in Education Act
The Invest in Education Act will add a 3.5 percent income tax surcharge to Arizona individuals who earn more than $250,000 per year, and couples filing jointly who earn more than $500,000. This will affect the top 1 percent of earners, who will still pay a lower effective tax rate than 25 other states and lower state income taxes than the national average.
Based on Arizona Department of Revenue models, this tax surcharge will generate $940 million annually for teachers, counselors, therapists, support staff, vocational education, and other critical services. (Source: https://azednews.com/new-invest-in-ed-initiative-announced-for-2020-ballot/)
The passage of both initiatives will be a dream come true for education statewide and locally. If either one passes (but not the other), PUSD will be better off—but still well below the national average for per-student funding.
The good news is that Prescott voters control the PUSD 2020 Override. If the Invest in Education Act passes, that’s great! However, we can’t control at the local level how much money it will generate for PUSD or how much will go to teacher and salaries (versus how much will go to other areas of education).
Right now, PUSD is having trouble attracting and retaining quality teachers, in large part because the district offers salaries lower than the state and national average. The PUSD 2020 Override will help bring teacher and staff salaries closer to the state average.
We can come together and help PUSD by giving the district the resources it needs to give our kids a world-class education. Together, we can pass the override and help create a brighter future for our children and the community of Prescott.
Vote “Yes” on the PUSD 2020 Override.