School club focusing on education careers added to tax credit list

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 - Jobs

Educators Rising, an extra-curricular club that encourages students to explore careers in teaching, will receive funding from tax credit accounts. 

The nationally recognized club provides young people with hands-on teaching experiences for those interested in cultivating skills needed to become educators. However, getting district officials to agree to set aside a 2015 moratorium on adding extra-curricular clubs to its list of tax-funded clubs wasn’t a small task.

Prior to voting 3-2 in favor of granting an exception to the moratorium, a spirited debate between more than 30 teachers, principals and district staff members brought several concerns about the decision to the forefront.

Educators Rising is the only Career and Technical Student Organization n Arizona. That means students enrolled in certain technical or career courses are allowed to compete at local, state and national events. However, board President Nichole Cohen said she some concerns with the organization’s principals listed on their website. They include an emphasis on social justice and the organization calls for values-based assessments for participants.

“I might be open (the proposal) if I didn’t have a problem with the (national) organization,” which Cohen accused of having a political agenda.

Throughout the meeting Cohen remained skeptical that the national organization’s mission would not leach into Lake Havasu students.

“It doesn’t matter if we aren’t going to teach it that way; this is what they are going to be exposed to, this is what they are going to attach to,” Cohen said. “We are raising a bunch of protestors and that’s not what I want as a teacher.”

Superintendent Diana Asseier said that Educators Rising has two components, a curriculum developed for teachers and a club that is independent of that curriculum.

Beyond that, board member John Masden said giving tax credits to this extra-curricular would mean taking away from others.

“At what point do we say enough is enough,” Masden said. “It seems like we’ve got a tax credit fund for everything and where does that line get drawn?”

For the past 10 years, LHUSD has received approximately $550,000 annually in tax credit funding. Last year the district received more than $696,000.

In a separate unanimous no vote, the governing board did not allow an exception to be made on the moratorium for tax credit eligible clubs for the yearbook at Thunderbolt Middle School. Although board members based their vote on the lack of documentation of how the funding would be spent, a similar action item can be resubmitted.

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