Too Many Champions At Cesar Chavez High School


This piece discusses a collection of articles written by Betty Reid about South Phoenix’s newest solution to overcrowded schools.  Although the school has only been open for a short time, it is already reaching its capacity.  The school’s design, which includes two gymnasiums, track/football field, drama department, etc, was built to hold 2,500 students.  Rick Brammer, a partner at Applied Economics in Scottsdale projects that number to soar to 2,665 by the year 2003.  Ironically, 2003 is the same year that Cesar Chavez will accept juniors and seniors.  Currently, the school is only for freshman and sophomores. 

            Adding to the growing population in South Phoenix, Brammer also projects that an additional 3,500 homes will be built in the area over the next few years.  The only positive aspect to a plethora of new communities and developments is property tax.  With increasing property taxes, new schools and more teachers can be funded.  Sounds pretty easy, huh?  Unfortunately, these communities in South Phoenix need so much more than new schools to accommodate an exploding population.  Residents are in dire need of affordable medical services, better parks and highways and better employment opportunities.  A new school, Cesar Chavez, was just built, costing taxpayers millions.  But with the new home ranging from $140,000 to $150,000, it seems as if there should be enough taxes to take care of this community.       

This debate returns to newcomers of South Phoenix versus longtime residents.  New homeowners have more political pull within their districts and often are concerned with other issues than overcrowded schools.  Many of the children of the newcomers are either sent to private or charter schools.  Therefore, their parents are not concerned with overcrowded classrooms.  The parents who want more, better schools for their children are out looking for work; something that a Wal-Mart super center could have helped with.  But the newcomers also won that battle to keep Wal-Mart form destroying their view of their mountains.  The community seems to be divided between those who want more shopping, better schools are an overall nicer community to live in and those who want to consume the benefits of South Phoenix without any boundaries.

Newcomers to South Phoenix who are truly concerned with its preservation should push for the city extract more property taxes from their homes to fund more schools.  Although the newcomer’s children are safe and uncrowded at their charter/private schools, the Champions of Cesar Chavez high School are the future of South Phoenix.