School district overrides back on East Valley ballots after many rejected in 2012 - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

School district overrides back on East Valley ballots after many rejected in 2012

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Posted: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 8:12 am | Updated: 3:33 pm, Mon Jan 13, 2014.

Budget overrides for Gilbert Public Schools as well as the Chandler Unified, Higley Unified, Queen Creek Unified and Tempe Union School Districts were voted down soundly a year ago. But that isn’t stopping the five districts — and a few others in the East Valley — from giving voters another chance to keep education budgets at their current mark.

Those five districts and the Kyrene School District will put forth override measures to the Nov. 5 ballot.

School districts in Arizona are funded from the state based on enrollment. Districts can ask voters to approve an override to tax themselves, based on property values, additional money for the school district. An approved override is in effect for seven years, with a decrease of one-third in each of the final two years.

“The key to a strong community begins within the education system that is responsible for teaching our children,” said Chandler Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Terri Kimble, whose organization recently announced public support of the Chandler, Kyrene and Tempe overrides.

Higley, Queen Creek and Tempe are seeking continuation of their 10 percent overrides; the Gilbert measure is a 6.6 percent continuation; Kyrene and Chandler seek 15 percent overrides, which represents a 5 percent bump for Chandler. Voters last year re-upped a 10 percent override for the Mesa Unified School District.

In those districts seeking continuation overrides, voter passage will not result in a property tax increase. Taxes will remain at their current levels. Of course, if the overrides are defeated, taxes will decrease.

“A lot of people think a ‘yes’ vote means we’re going to raise taxes,” said Teddy Dumlao, Gilbert’s director of finance. “But really we’re asking to simply maintain where we’re already at. Otherwise we’re going to have to cut.

“The other thing people often think is that the state’s basic funding formula is an adequacy formula. But the state has never said districts should be able to get by on that formula alone. That’s just what they’re going to give us and that’s why the override process exists.”

Each district this year seeks an override to boost its maintenance-and-operations budget, which maintains school buildings and grounds, funds extra-curricular activities and keeps current the salary levels for teachers and staff.

In addition to its override measure, Higley also will ask voters to approve a $70.5 million bond package for possible future school construction to accommodate its booming population, improving school grounds and future needs for furniture, technology and buses. Early voting for the bond began Oct. 15.

Here is a detailed overview of each East Valley override on a Nov. 5 ballot:



Chandler unified

Current override: 10 percent

Override sought: 15 percent (10 percent continuation, 5 percent new)

Destination: Maintenance-and-operations budget

Budget boost: $27 million/year

Early voting: Began Oct. 10

Notable supporters: Chandler Chamber of Commerce, State Senator Rich Crandall

Noteworthy: This is an all-mail ballot election. No voting will take place at the polls. A 10 percent continuation override failed last November.

Information: YesForChandlerStudents.com



Gilbert unified

Current override: 6.6 percent

Override sought: 6.6 percent continuation

Destination: Maintenance-and-operations budget

Budget boost: $11.6 million/year

Early voting: Began Oct. 10

Notable supporters: Gilbert Mayor John W. Lewis, Gilbert Chamber of Commerce

Noteworthy: A continuation measure of the district’s 10 percent override, which brought in approximately $18 million annually, failed last November, forcing the district to cut $6 million from this school year’s budget.

Information: CitizensForStrongSchools.com



Higley unified

Current override: 10 percent

Override sought: 10 percent continuation

Destination: Maintenance-and-operations budget

Budget boost: $4.9 million/year

Early voting: Began Oct. 10

Notable supporters: Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, Gilbert Mayor John W. Lewis, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney

Noteworthy: Higley voters last year rejected the district’s request to keep in place its 10 percent override.

Information: YesHigley.com



Kyrene

Current override: 15 percent

Override sought: 15 percent

Destination: Maintenance-and-operations budget

Budget boost: $12.2 million/year

Early voting: Began Oct. 10

Notable supporters: Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell, Chandler Chamber of Commerce, State Senator John McComish

Noteworthy: The K-8 district already benefits from the largest allowable override and is looking to continue at that rate.

Information: YesPublicEd.org



Queen Creek unified

Current override: 10 percent

Override sought: 10 percent continuation

Destination: Maintenance-and-operations budget

Budget boost: $2.5 million/year

Early voting: None

Notable supporters: Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney, Mesa Chamber of Commerce Business Advocacy Council

Noteworthy: This is the district’s second attempt to secure continuation of its override; a similar measure was voted down last year.

Information: Facebook.com/YesForAStrongerCommunity



Tempe union

Current override: 10 percent

Override sought: 10 percent continuation

Destination: Maintenance-and-operations budget

Budget boost: $6.6 million/year

Early voting: None

Notable supporters: Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell, Chandler Chamber of Commerce

Noteworthy: Last year’s override-continuation ballot measure fell short of approval by 811 votes.

Information: YesPublicEd.org

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