Utility funding is the top concern the Scottsdale Unified School District wants addressed during next year’s legislative session.
The Scottsdale board also designated increasing perpupil funding and protecting existing funds as items that should be priorities for the Arizona School Boards Association as it lobbies the state Legislature on behalf of school districts in 2008.
School boards around the state will come up with similar lists to help the Arizona School Boards Association choose next year’s legislative agenda, said board president Karen Beckvar, who also works for the group. The association, a nonprofit organization, represents and provides training for district governing boards.
The board hoped that keeping its list down to three legislative priorities would help highlight their importance at the Legislature.
“If we put excess utilities down 10 times, does it have a greater weighting?” asked board member Eric Meyer.
Arizona school districts use excess utility funds to make up the difference between the funding they get from the state to cover utility bills and how much it actually costs to power schools.
Under state law, districts won’t be able to collect those funds after the 2008-09 school year.
That concerns districts like Scottsdale, which has cut down on energy usage but has still seen utility bills rise because of rate hikes.
At a July meeting, Scottsdale district officials said they could be forced to cut as many as 110 teachers in a few years unless the state addresses how it funds school utilities.