As a resident of the Verde Valley, I am a bit confused on the repeated statement of “let the voters decide” when it comes to school consolidation.
Under the laws as they were written, the voters already have.
The voters of the Verde Valley dutifully elected the members of the governing boards of the three interested school districts. These members collected signatures, had their names placed on a ballot and were elected by the voters.
These board members were entrusted “by the voters” to vote on those issues routinely presented before school boards. These board members make dozens of decisions on a monthly basis, which intimately affect the running of these school districts.
This is the very heart of our “representative” system of government. We elect people to make decisions. We elect city council members, state and federal legislators, judges, and yes, school board members. We trust these people to make decisions affecting our lives on a daily basis.
So why this cry for “let the voters decide?” In the present case, the Consolidation Group didn’t like what the Mingus Board decided. So, instead of honoring the fact that the current law gave the board the power to vote as they did, the Consolidation Group went out and changed the law.
That’s right, a small group of wealthy land owners disagreed with what our elected officials decided and changed the law.
When the Mingus Board seemed disinclined to push consolidation, the head of the Consolidation Group, a registered lobbyist, traveled down to Phoenix and caused a Special Education funding bill to be changed in order to override the current law on consolidation.
Now, somehow, they have been able to convince people that they are doing so in order to “let the voters decide.” If we believe in a representative form of government, then that belief needs to apply when we agree with our elected officials as well as when we don’t.
If we disagree with what our elected officials decide, we patiently wait for the next election and vote. It is in allowing lobbyist and special interests groups to change the laws to suit their whim that is truly taking power away from the voters.
If people truly wish to honor the vote of the people, honor the legacy of our republic, they will abide by the legal decisions of our duly elected officials, instead of trying to change the laws to suit the wants and needs of special interest lobbyists.
Mingus Union High School