Gilbert schools budget approved; taxes rise - East Valley Tribune: News

Gilbert schools budget approved; taxes rise

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Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2008 1:37 pm | Updated: 12:01 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Bond money for a future elementary school, building improvements, and the construction of a new high school is included in this year's $446.3 million budget for the Gilbert Unified School District.

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The school board approved the budget Tuesday for the 2008-09 school year. The budget will increase primary property taxes on a house with an assessed value of $100,000 from $32 to $47, said Clyde Dangerfield, assistant superintendent of business services.

The extra dollars will pay for street improvements for Gilbert's fifth high school, planned to open in fall 2009, as well as extra utility costs the state doesn't pay. The high school is under construction at Germann Road and Quartz Street between Lindsay Road and Val Vista Drive, off the Santan Freeway stretch of Loop 202.

The budget also includes $82 million from a bond voters approved in November. The money will fund construction of an elementary school on the east side of the district. The Arizona School Facilities Board normally pays for school construction but determined that the Gilbert district doesn't qualify for a new school. So local taxpayers passed the bond to pay for its construction.

Recent action by the state Legislature could result in state funding for an elementary school in Gilbert: Lawmakers decided to allow the facilities board to count kindergarten students as full-time students, rather than half-time students, when determining new school funding.

However, the Gilbert district hasn't yet had a chance to recalculate what that means for the district, Dangerfield said.

"The possibility is there," Dangerfield said.

The biggest piece of this year's budget is $206.6 million in the maintenance and operations fund. Sixty-four percent of that money is spent for instruction in the classroom.

"We're proud of the fact we put as much as possible into the classrooms," Dangerfield said. "We're higher than the state average."

The 2008-09 school year is the first school year in 15 years the Gilbert district isn't opening a new school.

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