Chandler School District CUSD80 Sits on $300 Million Cash Pile
Schoolboard candidate who attacked opponents of the recent budget override as extremists now says the override was unjustified. Video at the end of the article.
The Chandler Unified School District, CUSD80, is flush with cash, around $300 Million. Parents and taxpayers working against the budget override in the run up of the November 2021 special election knew this. They also pointed out the huge administrative bloat in the district, including generous 6 figure pay packages for almost all 30 senior level administrators.
Their hard work was without success, the override passed, taxes remained high, families remained burdened. The override win was narrow however, with around 55% for and 45% against, showing that with enough preparation and time, such elections can likely be won, despite the long odds going up against the public educational establishment. Similar override elections in other districts and in CUSD80 prior, typically pass 65% for to 35% against.
Override opponents also noted the lack of transparency and outright hostility of the district against parents. The district is co-opting police to surveil parents opposed to CRT, lockdowns and mask mandates. Director of School Security Tanya Smith once noisily and angrily threatened parents protesting mask mandates in the district with removal by police.
In a previous CUSD80 board meeting Kurt Rohrs, a school board candidate in the district, asked Superintendent Frank Narducci how much money the district holds in reserve funds. Narducci refused to answer in public. Rohrs claimed in his address to the board on 30 March 2022 that Narducci and his staff failed to provide the number in a private meeting as well. Rohrs obtained the $300 Million number by checking with the Maricopa County Treasury office. Rohrs finished his address to the board appealing for transparency and financial prudency by using words and phrases such as "please" and "it would be the right thing to do".
This shows a lack of understanding as to the kind of people and organizations who run public schools, namely teachers unions. These people and organizations do not care about students, parents or taxpayers. Their only purpose is to increase pay outs and benefits for their members, while at the same time reducing workload, accountability and performance standards, and increasing their political clout. The Democratic Party in large parts is quite literally owned by teachers unions.
Such people cannot be dealt with by saying please and thank you. They have to be dealt with by electing strong conservatives to school boards. The word strong here refers to their ability and willingness to wield political power, for example to fire people aligned with said teachers unions, or defund waste, fraud, abuse. The modus operandi of many conservatives instead is to complain, seek power, but then don't use it. Such weak politicians are easily swayed by emotional appeals such as "it's for the children" or "you're racist". In a recent example of this, the entire Chandler Republican delegation to the Arizona House and Senate voted for a constitutional override giving public schools more money, increasing the tax burden to families. Gilbert Republicans by comparison stood much stronger. Nevertheless, with all Democrats voting for, and with much help by weak Republicans, the override passed, flushing more than $1 Billion, with a B, out of the wallets of taxpayers, and into the coffers of public school districts.
For the readers' reference, the current CUSD80 board, which by comparison with other school districts is seen as "conservative", consists of:
Barb Mozdzen - former CUSD80 teacher
Lara Bruner - current CUSD80 teacher
Joel Wirth - former CUSD80 CFO
Jason Olive - parent
Lindsay Love - social worker and Black Lives Matter operative