Focus on the future – Prop 438

Ronald Green, Focus on the Future Committee

This November, the Pinal County has an election, in which residents will receive their ballot in early October. This election is a “mail in only” election.

We would like to provide you information on two propositions that will be on the ballot, Proposition 438 and Proposition 439, both supporting important and necessary funding for the Oracle School District’s Mountain Vista Elementary School.

Proposition 438 approves the continuation of taxes already in place. It will help ensure we can maintain appropriate class sizes, along with music, art, tech academy, and physical education.

Proposition 439 approves the issue of bonds to fund critical and necessary infrastructure projects supporting health and safety and educational enhancements and efficiencies.

There has been much work done, which began early last year on the purpose and need for proposition 439. Below is a summary of the work that was done and due diligence taken.

Mountain Vista Elementary School (K-8) in Oracle has structural, health, and safety issues, which have an impact on student learning and educational environment.

The Oracle School District Governing Board appointed an advisory committee to begin a full analysis of a capital improvement plan. The advisory committee included teachers and residents of Oracle, SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch. The committee convened in February 2018 to begin their in-depth review.

The committee collaborated and agreed that their focus would be on “the absolutes,” those areas that must be accomplished, under the following criteria: improvements to conditions that impact the health and safety of the children and staff, including necessary upgrades for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant standards; and enhance the student’s learning and educational environment.

Mountain Vista campus has several significant challenges that must be addressed, including a classroom building that was constructed in 1964 and has structural issues, asbestos ceiling tiles, non-compliance with current school facility standards, and, due to low glass windows, all around, cannot be secured in the event of an active shooter incident. Kitchen equipment is old and failing, such as walk-in refrigerators and freezers of more than 20 years old have parts that can no longer be obtained, and with breakdowns increasing, this equipment needs to be replaced. Tutoring and training space is insufficient and needs to be increased by enlarging the current library for improved student learning and education. Several buses with an average of 300,000 miles on them need to be replaced, and the parking lot needs to be reconfigured to ensure student safety, which is at risk with the current configuration.

The advisory committee presented their recommendations to the District Governing Board in March 2019, who then reviewed, accepted, and approved the recommendations of the committee, which included the district seeking voter approval for a class B bond in the November election for $13.2 million to fund these vital infrastructure needs.