Tempe Union voters to decide budget override, $75M bond - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

Tempe Union voters to decide budget override, $75M bond

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Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 2:06 pm

The Tempe Union High School District governing board voted last week to put two issues on the November ballot.

The board agreed to put a 15 percent override and a $75 million bond question before voters in the district, which includes Tempe and parts of Phoenix.

The district currently has a 10 percent override in place that would start to decrease during the 2013-14 school year without renewal.

School districts in Arizona receive state funding based on enrollment. However, districts can ask voters to tax themselves to provide additional money.

Previously, districts could only ask for up to 10 percent for a maintenance and operations budget override. That fund is mostly used to pay for staff salaries and benefits. But lawmakers changed that to help districts grapple with education cuts made by the state in recent years.

The bond question will address, “health and safety needs,” including, “preventative maintenance, $38 million that the School Facilities Board did not fully fund, energy conservation measures/equipment and general facilities renovations,” according to district spokeswoman Linda C. Littell.

The state took over school building construction and maintenance several years ago after the courts ruled that Arizona’s use of voter-approved bonds to pay for buildings and repairs was unfair to low socioeconomic districts.

But for the last few years there has not been money in the state’s budget for the districts to use toward facility repairs.

Just last week, the Mesa Unified School District approved a $230 million bond question to put before voters.

Voters in Chandler and Gilbert unified school districts will also be asked in November to pass maintenance and operations budget overrides.

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