Higley school budget override failing - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

Higley school budget override failing

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Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 10:14 pm | Updated: 11:17 pm, Tue Nov 6, 2012.

Higley Unified School District’s request to renew its maintenance and operations budget override was failing Tuesday night, according to unofficial results.

The Higley governing board asked voters to approve continuation of a 10 percent budget override that was last approved in 2008. The override provides about $4.5 million in additional funds to the district each year above what is allocated by the state.

In early voting and with eight of 10 precincts reporting, both the maintenance and operations budget override and a capital outlay override were failing, according to unofficial results.

The capital outlay override was presented to provide funds for the district to make one-time capital purchases such as technology, furniture, musical instruments and structural building and ground improvements.

The last question before Higley school district voters would allow the district to enter into a long-term lease agreement.

Voters were approving that measure in early results, by a 2-to-1 margin.

The district hoped passage of the last question, as well as passage of the capital outlay override, would set forth a plan to lease district-owned land to a company that would then build two needed middle schools for the district.

The district then planned to lease those buildings, to provide additional space for students in the growing district.

“We are grateful to our Higley community for supporting the two middle schools, but because preliminary results tonight show our override measures failed, our district and our governing board now face some difficult decisions in the coming weeks,” Higley Superintendent Denise Birdwell said in a statement to the Tribune. “We continue to add students at Higley, but education funding is not keeping pace with our growth. Without additional support, we cannot open new schools or maintain reasonable teacher-to-student ratios. We don’t have bonds, so we cannot repair our schools. Now, we will have to come up with some creative solutions to address our challenges, and we hope our state lawmakers will help ease our efforts.”

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 appeared to be passing, in unofficial results.

Voters in Higley were also approving new board members Tuesday night. In unofficial results, current members governing board president Greg Land and governing board vice president Paul Howell were losing their bids for re-election to newcomers Kristina Reese, who was the top voter-getter, and Bob Steiger. Current board member Denise Standage appeared set to retain her seat.

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