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Schools Ask Voters to OK Bonds, Overrides

Dysart Unified is seeking an $18.8M override to retain teachers and staff, provide full-day kindergarten, and support education programs following the voter rejection of its requested override renewal last fall. Photo credit: Aaron Lavinsky/The Arizona Republic

By Ricardo Cano for The Arizona Republic

Voters in 28 Valley school districts will decide this November whether to approve funding for expenses like new schools, maintenance, and teacher and staff raises.

Some districts have unsuccessfully asked taxpayers for help in the form of a bond or override in recent years. Others have had voters routinely approve the ballot measures.

In the current state funding climate, which has districts still reeling from cuts made during the recession, school administrators and advocates say little else can be done to bolster their budgets than to ask the public for help.

“Right now, until the Legislature does something to restore some of the funding cuts and provide some additional funding to schools, maintenance and operation overrides and capital overrides and bonds are the only source of revenues that they have that school districts can try to access,” said Chuck Essigs, director of government relations for the Arizona Association of School Business Officials.

Funding cuts made by the state Legislature during the Great Recession have not been restored to their previous levels and capital funding for the majority of Arizona’s school districts has been cut by 85 percent since then.

Most Maricopa County districts face the same hurdles during election season.

A disparity remains in the success rates of bonds and overrides. Since 2005, county voters have passed 92 percent of construction bonds compared with 47 percent of overrides.

Read more at The Arizona Republic

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