bond vote results due Tuesday in four EV districts

Results in the override and bond votes in several East Valley school districts will be known Tuesday night, but voters who haven’t cast their ballots yet won’t be able to use the mail to do so.

That’s because all ballots in elections in Chandler, Queen Creek, Tempe Union High School and Kyrene school districts must be postmarked by 7 p.m. Tuesday, leaving little hope for a timely arrival if they are mailed Monday.

They will be able to drop off their ballots at the County Recorder’s early voting stations in the Tempe Public Library or the district headquarters for Queen Creek and Chandler. Details on hours are at recorder.maricopa.gov/ballotcenterlocator. The centers are being manned today, Sunday, Nov. 5.

Queen Creek voters will decide on a $63 million bond proposal that mainly would go toward the construction of two elementary schools and a new high school for about 1,200 students.

They rejected a $95 million bond last year for the same projects, but the bond is lower because the district got some building funds from the state.

Queen Creek spent $2 million leasing 10 portable buildings to manage classroom sizes.

Depending on where they live, Chandler residents will have either two override requests or one.

If they live in the Chandler Unified School District, they are being asked to vote yes to continue the district’s 15 percent override.

A citizens budget committee unanimously recommended that the governing board renew the override. The funds will be used for maintaining manageable class sizes, attracting and retaining high-performing teachers, and maintaining a host of programs that prepare students for college and the work world of the future.

Kyrene has three ballot questions in the all-mail election while Tempe Union High has one.

Kyrene is seeking continuation of its 15 percent maintenance and operations and its 15 percent capital overrides. Because both already are in place, neither will result in a property tax increase.

The largest part of the maintenance and operations override pays 210 teachers’ salaries.

 The rest covers special programs such as music, art and physical education; instructional interventions; and middle school “exploratories” such as classes in coding, foreign languages, culinary and performing arts and STEM.

The capital override supports Kyrene’s technology program, maintaining the devices such as laptops, tablets, whiteboards; software licenses, school security systems, parent services such as ParentVue, crisis notification and online payment options; and school buses and maintenance vehicles.

The combined additional taxes for the two overrides amounts to $232 annually on a home valued at $238,270, the average value of a home in the district, which includes parts of Tempe, Chandler and Mesa as well as all three Ahwatukee ZIP codes.

The bond question would allow Kyrene to borrow a maximum $116 million to make capital repairs on its buildings – many of which are 30 years old. Those repairs also would allow the district to expand its preschool program, which currently has a waiting list of about 150 children, the district says.

The money also can be used to buy new school buses to replace those too old to be of much use anymore.

Taxes would go up by about $23 a year on a home valued at $204,000 if Tempe Union’s override is approved. The annual tax bill on a home valued at $204,000 in the district is currently $47.

Tempe Union not only wants to continue a current 10 percent maintenance and operations override but also to increase that to the maximum 15 percent.

That additional 5 percent has been designated exclusively for the recruitment and retention of “highly effective teachers” and staff through raises that would be incrementally increased over five years, starting with 2 percent in the first year and 1 percent annually in each of the four following years.

The existing 10 percent override in Tempe Union is used, among other things, to keep class sizes small, fund electives and student support services, support preventive maintenance programs and pay for athletic and other extracurricular programs.

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