In keeping with our commitment to fostering critical thinking skills, BASIS.ed incorporates interdisciplinary coursework throughout our program. We believe that teaching students to make connections across disciplines, to ask questions and seek solutions and answers across traditional disciplinary boundaries, produces creative and independent thinkers and prepares our students for life and work in the 21st century. 
1608_089_SeniorProjectSaturday_Christian_Schmidt.jpgWhile all BASIS.ed coursework includes some level of instruction in interdisciplinary thinking, the Senior Project is perhaps the most salient example of these skills at work. 

Each year, the BASIS.ed community has the pleasure of celebrating the accomplishments of our entire network of students, participating each year in the presentations of their findings. The richness of the accomplishments of the students knows no limit; we'll share with you each week the abstracts and videos for you to get to know some of our students. Meet Christian Schmidt from BASIS Oro Valley and keep reading for his presentation abstract.

BREAKING BONDS: THE 2015
ELECTION INVESTIGATION

Christian Schmidt, BASIS Oro Valley

Faculty Advisor: Cynthia Blackey
External Advisors: Supervisor Ally Miller, District 1
Location: Pima County, Arizona 

 

 

For 30 years, Pima County voters have filled out their ballots, approving bond packages each election. What is a bond package? In Pima County, the County cuts a deal with its citizens: it will supply parks, economic development incubators, open space, hippopotamus exhibits, etc. and, in exchange, taxpayers shoulder an addition to their secondary property taxes to pay for capital projects. Last year, the County’s Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to call an election for November 3, 2015 on seven propositions: roads, flood control, parks, economic development, open space, public health, and tourism. The projects totaled $815,760,000.

On voting day, tradition collapsed. Every proposition failed. Voter behavior seemed to lack correlation with proximity or expected benefit from proposed bond projects near their precincts. Instead, the seemingly nonpartisan election split Pima County voters neatly down party and demographic lines, baffling the County Administrator’s office in their attempts to analyze.

What turned the voters against the bond packages? Was it the psychological aftermath of the 2008 recession? Was it the financial enormity and the items within the package? Did the elected officials’ uncertainty plant doubt in the minds of the voters? Or did the voters not trust Pima County’s promises to follow through on the projects? The goal of my senior project is to explain the reason behind the failed packages.

For more, read Christian's blog documenting his experience during his Senior Project.

To read more about our experience at this year's Senior Project presentations, don't miss this post. Curious to learn more about Senior Projects and their importance? Come visit us at an upcoming event:

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