Election Results: A Recall In Glendale, And Slim Margins For School Overrides
A pair of key West Valley elections Tuesday resulted in a victory for a recall challenger in Glendale and ongoing questions about the financial future of the area’s largest school district.
The Dysart Unified School District’s $18 million override election is too close to call as votes tallied by the Maricopa County Recorder show the sides are separated by less than half of a percent, and there may still be disputed or unopened ballots left to be counted.
Votes against the override started out Tuesday night with a comfortable lead. But by the time all precincts had reported, there were just 12 more votes in favor of the override.
Dysart officials have said the district would use the money to reinstate full-day kindergarten, hire more teachers and retain others. Dysart lost more than 200 employees after an override failed last year.
“We’re optimistic on the outcome and look forward to seeing the results probably in the next ten days,” said Zachery Fountain, director of communications and public relations for Dysart.
But many oppose the measure because Dysart has taken money out of classrooms and spent it on administrators, said Phil Mason, first vice president of the Arizona Republican Assembly.
“There is a question as to whether the information the school was putting out is accurate, which would call into question the validity of the vote to begin with,” Mason said.
A victory would Dysart to restore $6 million in cuts from last year, and avoid another $12 million in slashes over the next two years, district officials said. A loss would mean it may have to eliminate math and reading interventionists, high school vocational programs and performing arts classes.
Most other school district bonds, budget increases or overrides appear to have passed based on initial results.
Meanwhile, results from Tuesday’s recall election in Glendale’s Sahuaro district are more clear as challenger Ray Malnar holds a strong lead over Gary Sherwood.
The Maricopa County Recorder reports Malnar is ahead of Sherwood by 335 votes with all precincts reporting. While there are still ballots left to be counted, Sherwood said it will be very difficult to overcome the margin.
The recall election is an example of voters demanding fair representation, Malnar said. He wants to make sure city finances are sound and taxpayer voices are heard.
“I don’t have an agenda per se,” Malnar said. “I will do what is right for the city of Glendale and I’m going to approach every issue in a very thoughtful manner”
Malnar will be sworn in as soon at the city council accepts the County Recorder’s final vote tally, according to city officials. The earliest that could happen is at the Nov. 10 meeting.
Sherwood said he’ll run for city council again in 2016.
Elsewhere in the state, Tucson is on the verge of becoming the latest city to do away with red light traffic cameras.
Early results in Tuesday's election show Proposition 201, which bans the cameras, winning about two-thirds of the vote.
Passage means that the city's traffic cameras at eight intersections will have to go down.
The city of Scottsdale had six bond questions on the ballot, and four of them appear to have failed.
Initial reports indicate voters approved street pavement projects and construction on four fire stations, but rejected bonds related to parks, transportation, technology and police projects.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.