Gilbert voters saying 'no' to school district override - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

Gilbert voters saying 'no' to school district override

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Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 8:12 pm | Updated: 11:18 pm, Tue Nov 6, 2012.

Gilbert voters were turning down a school district request to renew its budget override, according to early unofficial results Tuesday night.

The Gilbert Unified School District governing board put the question on the ballot to continue a 10 percent budget override that’s been in place since 2003, and renewed once — in 2007. It currently provides about $17 million in additional funding to the district above what the state formula allows.

With 70 percent of precincts reporting, the measure was failing, with 57 percent of voters voting against it and 43 percent voting in favor of the measure, according to unofficial results.

Maintenance and operations budget overrides across the East Valley were failing for school districts, according to unofficial results. But bond measures in Tempe Union High School District and Mesa Unified School District were passing.

Arizona school districts are funded based on enrollment. Voters can approve overrides to tax themselves to give districts additional funds. Most East Valley school districts have an override in place or one on the ballot Tuesday night. Bond measures provide funds to districts to pay for building maintenance and construction, as well as technology.

In 2010, lawmakers approved a measure that would allow the school district to ask for up to 15 percent in an override. Gilbert’s school board decided in the spring to just ask for renewal of the current 10 percent override.

The district says the money is needed to maintain small class size and stay competitive in teacher pay. The opposition said the district should trim its budgets like everyone else has with the recession.

Four spots were up for election on the Gilbert school board Tuesday night. Jill Humphreys was leading Eric Johnson in the race for one two-year seat. The vote for three four-year seats was too close to call, with newcomer Julie Smith getting the most votes in unofficial results. There was a tight race for second place between current board members EJ Anderson and Lily Tram and newcomer Daryl Covin.

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