A counter about CF annexations

In response to the negative letters regarding the proposed annexation of Catalina Foothills by Golder Ranch Fire, I’d like to counter those “perceptions” with my actual experience. 

The area of Oro Valley where I live was annexed by Golder Ranch in 2007. Prior to that, we were serviced by Rural Metro. Their nearest station was 3 miles away and had one fire engine. When Golder Ranch took over this area, they built a new station 1/2 mile away, which has multiple trucks, an ambulance, and their response times average 5 minutes. If you are a Foothills homeowner, I ask you this: Where is the nearest Rural Metro station? Are they going to get there before you hang up the phone? 

Another thing that many people might not realize is that Rural Metro uses Southwest Ambulance to transport most people to hospitals. If you end up needing to go to the hospital, you are going to pay for that ambulance ride (roughly $500+). Golder Ranch no longer uses Southwest; they transport everyone themselves, which means there is no extra charge for an ambulance. 

Also, Golder Ranch serves anyone within their boundaries free of charge. Not so with Rural Metro; if you aren’t a subscriber and have a car accident on Skyline, prepare to pay $900+ for medical response. One last thing to consider is that Rural Metro is a national, for-profit business, whereas Golder Ranch is a local fire district, which is likely more aware of the concerns of its residents.


Skip Stevens,

Oro Valley


More thoughts on teachers’ pay

would like to debunk the misconceptions perpetrated in “Thoughts on Pay for Teachers,” (a letter by Rick Cunnington in the Oct. 17 edition of The Explorer.) 

First, teachers “already-high hourly rate”: the BLS database for wages in Arizona reveals an average annual salary for secondary education teachers of $39,810.  They do not list hourly wages; teachers are salaried.  A computation based on an eight-hour day per contract year determines an hourly wage of $24.89.  As a teacher, I can attest that it is impossible to complete planning and grading in an eight-hour day.  With a conservative estimate of an additional two hours a day, the hourly wage comes down to $16.58. On average, I work at least 8 – 10 additional weekend hours.

In comparison, the BLS database reports pest control workers make $17.89 per hour, carpenters $20.08, and skincare specialists $21.39.  None of these requires a minimum of a four-year certificated college degree. 

As for “guaranteed life-time employment,” he must be unaware that since 2009 AZ House Bill 2011 prohibits school districts from using tenure for teacher layoffs or rehiring, resulting in no job security, as there is no guarantee that a contract will be renewed.

He cites a student/teacher ratio of 15.2.  Per class, I average 21.7 students; however, I teach six classes, resulting in 130 students.  A middle manager with 130 employees would make far in excess of an average teacher’s salary!

If he is so envious of teachers, he is more than welcome to become an educator, since 46% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years.  Overall, the national turnover rate is almost 17%, at an estimated cost of $7.3 billion dollars a year.  Would it not be better to retain teachers and save billions?  If the pay is so high, the benefits so “gold plated” and the work load so easy, why are so many leaving?

It was teachers that gave him the ability to read and write, and thus compose his letter.  Teaching is the profession from which all other professions come.  If our society placed value on the contributions of teachers, we would be respected and justly compensated rather than denigrated and maligned.


Jean A. Bomeisl,


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