What's a government to do when it needs to raise taxes to pay for another new program? Sneak the tax increase onto a special ballot, of course.
Voters in Scottsdale, Cave Creek, and Fountain Hills will decide today whether to authorize yearly budget overrides totaling nearly $4.5 million for all-day kindergarten.
This, despite the fact that all-day kindergarten does not work. The National Center for Education Statistics finds no lasting reading, math, or science achievement differences between children who attend half-day and full-day kindergarten.
Set aside the shortcomings of all-day K, and a troubling question yet lingers for voters: Why are these tax increases, like so many others, being offered in an election that last year saw a 13.9 percent turnout? The May 2004 Scottsdale special election asked voters, among other things, to pass a new sales tax to fund the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Predictably, those few who stood to benefit from the largess turned out to vote in greater numbers than those who would foot the bill, and the tax increase passed.
If voters want precious education dollars to go toward all-day K, let's give the question the attention it deserves. Put the question to the majority of voters-in a general election.