Educator Announces Primary Challenge to Maricopa County School Superintendent Accused of Financial Mismanagement

Nickie Kelley, an Arizona schoolteacher, recently announced she is running as a Republican for Maricopa County School Superintendent (MCSS), challenging the Republican incumbent currently in office. The Maricopa County Supervisors (BOS) accused current officeholder Steve Watson of financial mismanagement in May, and voted for a resolution to defund the Maricopa County accommodation school district he oversees next fiscal year. Under Watson, the district fell $3.4 million in debt. The Arizona Auditor General has been investigating MCSS.

The Arizona Sun Times spoke with Kelley (pictured above), a longtime political activist, about why she decided to run.

“I’m worried about the financial issues,” she said. “I cannot explain in my own mind how you get into that amount of debt. If I ran a business, I would be out of business.”

The BOS said the district took out an unauthorized line of credit, which the BOS bailed out reluctantly with $2 million, but the district continues to rack up deficits. The BOS said employees and creditors would not have been paid without the bailout.

“In essence, the Accommodation School District spent money they didn’t have,” said Supervisor Bill Gates in July 2022. “Even worse, after we confronted them about it, they took out another line of credit for which they had no collateral.” The BOS said for the past six years, MCSS did not follow through with the budget plan presented to the board.

Read the rest of the article at The Arizona Sun Times

Nickie Kelley by is licensed under