By the time Nov. 6 arrives, Peoria residents may be wondering when they will have time to complete their ballots. This year, they will decide if a Republican should continue representing them in the 8th Congressional District, or if it is time for a change and elect a Democrat. The district has been under a mixed Democrat/Republican control the past 40 years. At one time, there was a mix of Congressional District 3 and 8; parts of one district mixed with the other. But that changed once redistricting added another congressional district to Arizona. All of the boundaries throughout the state changed.
Since 2013, Raul Grijalva has led the Democratic Party in the 3rd Congressional District, while Trent Franks took the lead in the 8th Congressional District.
When Franks unexpectedly resigned in December following a report of inappropriate behavior, a special primary election resulted in a special general election pitting Republican Debbie Lesko against Democrat Hiral Tipirneni. It was a matchup political observers predict will be repeated in November. Both are expected to secure primary wins Aug. 28.
Still, there are school districts and the West-MEC overlay district elections, which, at this point, show several candidates interested in local school governing boards.
It appears there will be a re-election slate of candidates in the West-MEC elections. James Kaltenbach is seeking re-election in District 2, while Frank Straka is running again in District 7. District 1 also has a seat up for election, but no candidate filed papers for that office.
Deer Valley Unified School District has six candidates vying for two four-year seats. Ann O’Brien, Kim Fisher, Jennie Paperman, Julie Read, M. Deiana Jr. and Matt Dennis have filed nomination petitions.
Peoria Unified School District also has two four-year seats up for grabs. Beverly Pingerelli is running for re-election, while Cory Underhill, Michael James Gard and Davita Solter are also in the race. Governing Board member Kathy Knecht is not seeking re-election. She is running as an Independent candidate in the Legislative District 21 senate race.
Added to the candidate elections in the Peoria Unified School District is a bond proposal. Voters turned down a $198 million bond proposal in 2016. The governing board voted against bringing another bond proposal to voters in May 2017. But May 24, 2018, the board approved placing a $189.2 million bond proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot.
School officials said, if approved, the secondary property tax rate is expected to remain at or below $1.60 per $100 of assessed valuation.
If approved, district officials said bond funds would be spent:
• To renovate and to provide improvements to instructional and operational buildings at existing elementary and schools including restroom and roofing remodeling;
• To implement safety features at all school sites;
• To acquire land and the construction of a new high school;
• To construct a new facility for the Peoria Traditional School, currently housed within Coyote Hills Elementary School;
• To renovate existing Performing Arts Centers;
• To replace student and staff devices, servers and copy machines;
• To purchase elementary and high school arts equipment;
• To provide upgrades to Career and Technical Education facilities;
• To replace activity buses for student transportation
Note: In school districts where there are no candidate contests, the Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools Steve Watson may request the cancellation of the election of governing board members to save election costs. Watson will swear-in those uncontested candidates sometime before taking office on Jan. 1.
In some districts where no candidates run for the seat and/or a vacancy exists, the Watson has the option to appoint and fill the vacancy.