Proposition 449 A Winner by Anne Gibson
Many residents have heard the name Citizens of Vail for Education (COVE), but few realize it is the dedicated volunteers of COVE that promote the Vail School District’s override and capital campaigns. By state law, school districts may provide information, but may not promote their own elections verbally, in writing, or by using district resources. COVE is a political action committee registered with Pima County Elections. The committee of volunteers works specifically toward the passage of the Vail Scho
ol District’s bonds and overrides, said Co-Chair Matt Hoose, a retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel.
COVE’s success is illustrated by the success of Proposition 449 in the November General Election. The results were a healthy 15,213 votes in favor and 10,919 votes in opposition, according to the Pima County Elections Department. “Our 10% district override must be renewed every five years. The override provides funding for 100 teaching positions in the areas of art, music and physical education. This year, the district’s governing board called for an additional 2.5% in order to provide a 2.5% raise for teachers and non-administrative staff,” Matt Hoose explained.
As we began the campaign, we had two major challenges: the additional 2.5% the board requested would need to come from voters accepting higher tax rates and the need to educate voters on the difference between Vail’s Override and the passing of Arizona’s Prop 123, he further explained. “The passage of Proposition 449 was critical to our continued progress as a District. We are known for educational excellence. Although the 2.5% increase in pay is small, it is an indicator that board members and the community at large value their jobs and their contribution to the education of our children and grandchildren,” said newly elected governing board member Mark Tate. “I am incredibly grateful to the voters of Vail for the passing of 449. I am so encouraged to see the support of the community for our schools. I am happy to see our incredible teachers and staff receive an increase in their salary from 449 and to see valued program continue,” Vail Governing Board Member Allison Pratt said.
This year’s COVE’s steering committee was made up of parents, district employees and retirees. District employees may join campaigns for or against during their non-school hours, Matt Hoose explained. This year’s steering committee included Co-Chairs Matt and Tanya Hoose; Anne Gibson, secretary; Kiki Ngo, treasurer; Mary Ann Cleveland, speaking events; Andre’ Mixon, table events; Darcy Mentone, communications; Stacy Winstryg, community outreach and Vail Parent Network representative; Jean Vickers, fund-raising; and John Carruth and Charlie Spies, signs.
Two area businesses were instrumental in our success. StrongPoint Marketing’s Steve Lynne provided outstanding, timely support and came up with the slogan, “Save 100 Teachers with One Vote.” Also critical to our success was Peter Minot, of Southwest Solutions AZ., Inc. He turned our designs into fantastic signage, palm cards and mailers to get our message out to the voters.
“Tanya and I owe a gratitude of thanks to the many volunteers and contributors who stepped up to help the steering committee put its plans into action,” Matt Hoose noted. It was truly a team effort.