Arizona school districts are asking local voters to OK money for campus repairs, maintenance, improvements and construction, as well as school security – needs that state funding has severely reduced or in some cases eliminated in recent years.
The state drastically reduced capital funding for school districts when the Great Recession began in 2008, and that funding has not recovered since then. For example, the state provided almost $7 million in capital needs funding for Flagstaff Unified School District in 2007, but just $600,000 in 2018.
Vail School District Superintendent Cal Baker, whose district has benefited from such ballot measures in the past, said he knows they can be hard to understand.
“A bond is like a mortgage that pays for things you can feel and touch, like buses and school buildings,” Baker said in an Arizona Public Media article. “An override is for operations, primarily for people, and it’s an annual allocation that must be renewed every five years.”
Education funding is a balancing act between local, state and federal sources, with bonds and overrides a way communities can contribute directly to their district schools, while making up for state and federal shortcomings, Baker said.
Approval of the 12 bond measures on ballots in the November 6, 2018 general election would give the school districts seeking them the ability to raise a certain amount of money locally through property taxes for set capital projects.
Infographic by Lisa Irish/AZEdNews
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Voter approval of the 24 overrides on the ballot would allow school districts to raise funds up to 15 percent of their budget for maintenance and operation to reduce class sizes, raise teacher pay, and other classroom improvements.
If voters approve the seven capital overrides or District Additional Assistance overrides, on the ballot, that would let school districts boost funds up 10 percent of the district’s revenue control limit to replace school buses, technology, books, and provide athletic, fine arts and playground equipment as well as fund school and facility repairs.