The challenger in the Kyrene Elementary School District’s recall election has raked in twice the campaign funds as incumbent Rae Waters, as well as the support of two high-profile community members.
Patrick McGill has received about $5,000 in contributions — including donations from Rep. Laura Knaperek, R-Tempe, and former state schools chief Jaime Molera — since beginning his campaign in January to replace Waters on the school board. He’s also used more than $3,000 of his own money to cover some of his campaign’s expenses.
Knaperek and Molera stepped forward to offer support after they were displeased with the school board’s decision to cut middle school fine arts time, McGill said.
Longtime school board member Waters faced recall in November after parents, angered by the middle school fine arts vote, collected more than 7,000 votes to trigger the March 14 election. Parents said Waters was targeted because of her lack of communication with them and teachers about the decision and because she was the only one on the school board eligible for recall.
Molera, who contributed $370 to the campaign, lives in the Kyrene district and states in a mailer to parents “as a former education policymaker and a current Kyrene parent, there is no one I trust more with my child’s future than Patrick McGill.” Molera could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Knaperek, who contributed $100 to McGill’s campaign, is a former Kyrene school board member. “When I see a person who has passion in the same things I do, I’m going to stand up for that person and that’s why I wrote the check for Mr. McGill,” she said.
Contributions to Waters’ campaign total about $3,000 with an additional $1,000 in loans. While her list of contributors don’t include any big names, Waters says she has the support of several state senators, three of the district’s board members and the official backing of the Kyrene Education Association, the district’s teachers union.
Teacher support has been a source of contention between the two campaigns with McGill maintaining that not all teachers support Waters. “We have endorsements of well over 100 teachers,” McGill said after Waters added a banner on her campaign signs that reads “teacher endorsed.”
Waters acknowledged, “I’m sure not every teacher supports me and I’m sure not every parent supports me, just like I’m sure not every teacher supports Patrick McGill and not every parent supports” him.
Kyrene Unified School District election
When: Tuesday, polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
Where: To find your polling location go to
and click on the “elections” tab in the left column or call (602) 506-3535