Sahuarita Times: New School Proposed in Rancho Sahuarita on November’s Ballot

“This November, local residents will be asked to support Propositions 451 and 452, two Sahuarita Unified School District (“SUSD”) proposed budget measures. The passage of Proposition 451, a Capital Override, would provide the district $1 million each year for the next 7 years; while Proposition 452 would result in a $25 million bond for a new K-8 school to be located along the future Rancho Sahuarita Boulevard south of Sahuarita Rd., as well as new classrooms on the main campus.

The successful passage of the bond would eliminate the possibility of over-crowded classrooms by funding  $20 million for the construction of a new K-8 school and $5 million to build new buildings to replace the nearly 30-year-old portable buildings on the campuses of Sahuarita Intermediate School and Sahuarita Primary school.

SUSD officials have been working with the Rancho Sahuarita Company to locate a new school south of the Sahuarita Town Center within the Rancho Sahuarita master plan. Rancho Sahuarita has offered to donate land for the school facilities and share the off-site infrastructure costs required to develop the property.

Superintendent, Dr. Valenzuela commented, “The Sahuarita School District is grateful for the generous offer from our partners at the Rancho Sahuarita Company to donate land for our next K-8 school. Pending the needed financing, we look forward to working collaboratively in planning and building a quality and student centered facility that will serve this community for generations to come. Together, we will continue to make a difference!”

Rancho Sahuarita and SUSD have a long history of partnership. In total, Rancho Sahuarita has donated over 75 acres of land for new schools, is a founding member of Sahuarita Wins!, and has worked with SUSD on numerous community and educational initiatives.

“Rancho Sahuarita was founded as place where families could enjoy a better life. A good education has always been a part of that vision. We appreciate our partnership with SUSD, and look forward to continuing to provide an exceptional place for families to live and for children to learn,” said Bob Sharpe, Founder of Rancho Sahuarita.

Important improvements funded by the passage of the Override, Proposition 451, would include $275,000 for Major Facility Repairs/Improvements, $200,000 for Instructional Technology/Resources, $350,000 for Buses/Student Transportation, $100,000 for Fine Arts/Athletic Equipment and $75,000 for needed Classroom Furniture and Equipment.

According to officials at the district, passage of Proposition 451 would cost the owner of a $100,000 home (taxable value), $2.83 per month, or about $34 a year. The passage of Proposition 452 would cost the same homeowner approximately $9.69 per month, or roughly $116 per year.

Passage of both measures is essential, as the school district is in critical need of additional funding for these key improvements. The State of Arizona has cut capital funding for construction in recent years, while SUSD, on the other hand, is growing at a rate of about 5% per year, and adds an estimated 250 new students to its student population annually, with the majority of them residing in Rancho Sahuarita.

The growth, while a positive reflection of the quality of the community and SUSD’s staff, classes, and innovative programs, is challenging for its teachers, resources and facilities. Statewide, teachers are being forced to do more with less, and with continued growth and no additional financial support from the state to help bear the burden, things will likely only get more challenging.

Schools have always been a cornerstone of the Sahuarita community, and parents should be able to rely on those schools to provide their children with a quality, engaging and well-rounded education. The children of Sahuarita are dependent on their community to continue to maintain and enhance the quality of their schools, which in turn benefits everyone by increasing property values, fostering a more responsible youth generation, and creating a stronger and more educated workforce.

Sharpe concluded, “In light of the turmoil in this world, it appears that the timing is now to vote to approve Propositions 451 & 452, and do what each of us can do to provide a brighter future for our children.””