By now all registered voters in Fountain Hills have received their ballots with the FHUSD M&O and DAA Override questions.

As a governing board member, I am acutely aware of two things. First, how hard our teachers and staff work on behalf of our children every single day; and second, how these unprecedented past 18 months created challenges that we and district leadership never imagined. The response to the pandemic led to divisions within our community and our school families, with district policy decisions consistently met with mixed reactions.

This override election should not be about perceived retribution for governing board decisions during the pandemic. These overrides directly impact our teachers and students. Certainly, not having these funds continue to support our district activities would cause us sadness and angst; however, it is ultimately our students who would face the harmful consequences.

Without the passage of the overrides, the governing board would face the gut-wrenching task of determining how we prioritize what classes remain, whether to fund full-day kindergarten, if students receive a Chromebook, what online educational programs we can afford, what extracurriculars and sports remain, and many more cuts to stay within a decreased budget. Importantly, we would also have to determine how to provide competitive wages to recruit and retain our best teachers for our students.

Yes, no doubt the governing board and the administration would have sleepless nights wrestling with these decisions, especially when we are forced to reduce beloved staff and cut existing programs due to funding. So, it will upset us; but the reality is that our pain will pale in comparison to the damage inflicted on teachers and students. Please, when you fill out your ballot, think about them and then cast your “Yes” and “Yes” votes in support of our district.