Vail students return to different environment

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VAIL, Ariz. -- It's the middle of summer and while most students are enjoying another month off of school, students in Vail are heading back for a new year with some changes.

Six hundred twenty students showed up for class at cottonwood elementary in Vail.  They've been off nearly 6 weeks, and much has changed in that small amount of time

"It's the largest I've seen our classes with fewer teachers too," said Cottonwood Elementary Principal Bobbi Mayeux.

Last November, a budget override that would have given the school district more money, failed on the November ballot.

It was the first time Vail residents turned down an educational initiative. Now the schools are having to deal with cutbacks.

"It effects our students and their growth and the potential getting them from point A to point B before going on to the next grade," said Mayeux.

Vail laid off nearly 40 teachers in its district and scaled back on the number of specialists teaching electives.

The district is trying for another budget override on the next ballot. If that one fails as well, similar cuts may be made the next two years.

"Any kind of vote having to do with taxes is difficult, but we hope people see the effect of what is occurring and choose appropriately," said Superintendent Calvin Baker.

Parents though don't view this as doom and gloom. The town still prides itself on having one of the best education districts in Southern Arizona.

"The schools need the money, and the kids benefit, so I think it's a sacrifice, it's something we need to do," said mother Jennifer Bell.