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We recently attended a Metropolitan Pima Alliance breakfast panel on the future of growth in Southern Arizona. As the discussion shifted from where we have been to where we are going – and how we will get there – the focus turned, predictably, to education.

The panelists included two of the region’s prominent homebuilders. Builders have a unique vantage point on the economic trends that impact a community. It’s their business to keep a finger on the pulse of community success and they occupy a front-row seat watching which communities succeed – and which struggle.

Locally, the panelists pointed to Vail as the poster child of communities that owe their success to high-performing schools.

Sahuarita deserves to be one of those communities as well. The town is one of the most popular housing destinations in Southern Arizona, and one of the reasons is the Sahuarita Unified School District (SUSD).

SUSD continues to introduce sophisticated programming, and has achieved several regional and state “firsts,” including the area’s first Water Festival and Arizona’s first National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) program.

We are moving in the right direction. And we must continue moving.

In June, the SUSD Board of Directors called an election to continue two budget overrides that were voter-approved in 2010. The overrides fund programs that enhance Sahuarita’s education system – things like:

• smaller class sizes that ensure more focused instruction,

• physical education classes that keep kids healthy and active, and

• career and technical education that prepares them for success after high school.

The overrides have contributed to SUSD’s growth and success in the last several years. And Sahuarita’s success as a community is directly tied to SUSD’s success.

Great communities have great schools in part because great schools create great communities. Great schools create:

•Strong property values

•An educated workforce

•A strong sense of community

•Higher average incomes

All of Sahuarita benefits from investment in our public schools, from the parent whose child is excelling in a diesel mechanics course to the retiree who is enjoying rising property values. This is all to say that Sahuarita’s education system affects us all. And when Sahuarita schools excel, this community does, too.

If we decide as a community that we value well-rounded successful students; strong property values; and a town that continues to offer the best life possible for all citizens, the decision is clear: We must commit to continue investing in education.

Please vote “YES!” on Propositions 421 and 422, and encourage a friend to do so as well. Visit SahuaritaWins.org for more information about the overrides and how you can get involved.

Tim Campbell and Jeremy Sharpe are co-chairs of Sahuarita Wins 2014,SahuaritaWins.org.

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