FLORENCE — There are still plenty of votes left to be counted, but results currently are not looking good for a budget override at the Florence Unified School District.
With all polling place ballots counted Tuesday night, the FUSD override had only 31.4% support. According to the Pinal County Elections Department, early ballots are still being verified, and the results of those votes will be posted on Thursday. The number of ballots remaining to be counted was unavailable at press time.
However, as of press time, FUSD’s ballot measure was doing by far the worst of any in Pinal County.
“We will be just fine in FUSD,” said Superintendent Chris Knutsen. “When I signed up to work in public education I knew it wasn’t always going to be easy. Our teachers, administrators and classified staff teach and lead during the most challenging times because of kids.”
Knutsen further noted Florence is fortunate to be a growing district, without the financial challenges of a district with declining enrollment.
“Our staff has proven to show up and work for our kids regardless of the amount of resources we are provided,” he said. “They will continue to do just that. We will win in FUSD.”
FUSD was asking for a 15% maintenance and operations override to improve teacher salaries, and add school resource officers and mental health counselors on every campus.
Besides making each campus more secure, SROs would help teach law-related education, supervise the campuses and be available to supervise evening sporting events.
Mental health counselors would work with students and teachers on preventing problems, be available for students who are dealing with high stress or crisis, and meet on a regular basis with students who need social-emotional support or behavioral counseling.
The district’s last attempt to pass an override two years ago lost by approximately 500 votes. The deficit as of press time was 3,651.