Phoenix Union board calls for bond and budget override election - AZEdNews
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Phoenix Union board calls for bond and budget override election

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  • Craig Pletenik/Phoenix Union High School District

Students In Phoenix Union High School District

The Phoenix Union High School District Governing Board has called for a 15 percent Maintenance and Operations Budget Override and Bond election for November 7, 2017. The action was taken at the May 4 Governing Board meeting.

The election will be a mailed ballot-only election with ballots mailed to qualified electors residing within the District.

The override asks voters for authorization to continue the current 15 percent override for fiscal year 2018-2019 and six subsequent years. This would be a continuation of the existing override approved by voters in 2013. There would be no additional taxes if the override is approved. The override amount for the first year of the proposed continuation would be $24,300,000, approximately equal to the current secondary tax rate for the existing budget override. The override provides for over 400 teachers and support staff that directly impacts students and student achievement.

The bond would be for $269 million to fund capital improvements over and above those funded by the state. The District annual capital budget has been cut from $21 million to just under $2 million since the Recession. The bulk of the bond would fund maintenance, and renovation of school buildings and technology. This would include instructional technology, such as distance learning expansion, transforming media centers and upgrading student labs, maintaining one-to-one computer-to-student initiatives, and infrastructure to include software, network and wireless upgrades. The bond would also cover purchasing buses, acquiring school lots, improving school grounds, supplying school buildings with furniture and equipment, and providing all utilities and other capital items necessary for the construction and renovation of school building and grounds. Estimates of bond spending would be $149 million for general improvement, replacement and maintenance of facilities, $60 million for technology and infrastructure; $40 million for new construction; $10 million for transportation; and $10 million for furniture and equipment.

The estimated average annual tax rate for the proposed bond authorization is $.38 per $100 of net assessed valuation used for secondary property tax purposes, which is approximately $38 a year for a home with an assessed value of $100,000.

The Governing Board has called for the M&O Override election because budget override authorization expires after seven years and is phased out in years six and seven, and must be brought back to the voters to continue. The current override, if not renewed, will be reduced by one-third in each of the final two years, beginning July 1, 2019-20 until it is phased out. State statutes allow school governing boards to hold elections for the purpose of presenting a proposed override budget to qualified electors, limited to a maximum of 15% of the revenue control limit.

The override funds the following areas:

• To maintain smaller class size and allow students to take more than five classes per day
• To enhance course offerings for more rigorous academic course work, college prep programs and student leadership development
• For students to attend alternative education programs, such as Linda Abril Educational Academy or Evening Schools at some campuses
• To maintain elective subjects such as student government, performing arts, vocational education and Junior ROTC
• To attract and retain the highest qualified educators in the profession
• For student services and counseling as well as safety and security
• For extended learning time for academic interventions for students who need instructional support and services
• Funding for student competitive athletic programs

District voters have approved Phoenix Union override elections since 1971 and five consecutive bonds since 1985. Voters approved a $230 million bond in 2011 and a $205 million Bond in 2003.

For more information, please contact Craig Pletenik at (602) 764-1530.