By Tasha Anderson for AZBEX
Approximately $700M worth of Arizona K-12 school district bond measures will be on the Tuesday, November 3rd ballot, a significant decrease from the record-breaking $1.6B total request from 2019.
The largest bond requests are once again coming from Maricopa County, with Pinal County again at a far distant second.
The school districts with the largest bond requests include:
- Glendale Union High School District – Maricopa County – $130M
- Peoria Unified School District #11 – Maricopa County – $125.255M
- Roosevelt Elementary School District #66 – Maricopa County – $90M
- Buckeye Union High School District #201 – Maricopa County – $87.31M
- Riverside Elementary School District – Maricopa County – $75M
- Florence Unified School District – Pinal County – $75M
Glendale Union High School District
Glendale Union is asking for a bond authorization of $130M, a significant increase from the $35M request that was approved by voters in 2018.
$115M is expected to go toward the renovation of existing school facilities and new construction on school sites. The other $15M will go toward funding the replacement of aging fleet vehicles and the purchase of furniture, equipment, and technology for district facilities.
Peoria Unified School District #11
Peoria Unified, after voters rejected their request for a $198M bond in 2016 and their request for a $189.2M bond in 2018, is now asking for a bond authorization of $125.255M, as well as an override.
$94.255M will go toward improvements to elementary schools, high schools, and administrative facilities including safety, technology, furniture, equipment, and grounds improvements. Part of that money is also expected to go toward land acquisition for a new high school. The other $31M will go toward purchasing furniture, equipment, and technology, as well as transportation and support vehicles.
Roosevelt Elementary School District #66
Roosevelt Elementary is asking for a $90M bond authorization, a $55M increase from the bonds approved by the voters in 2017.
About $67.5M is expected to go toward renovations, remodeling, and upgrades to schools including: demolition, land acquisition, safety and security measures, replacement structures, and more. $9M is earmarked for HVAC, roofing, and other facility improvements, while the other $13.5M is reserved for technology/equipment upgrades and vehicle purchases.
Buckeye Union High School District #201
After their $65M bond request failed in 2018, Buckeye Union is back and asking for an $87.31M bond authorization for the November 3rd ballot. Their last approved bonds were in 2014, for $49M.
If approved, $80.275M will go toward improvements such as: classroom additions/remodels/expansions, student technology, and athletic facilities renovations to maintain their student growth. Approximately $7.035M will go toward vehicles.
According to the voter informational pamphlet, Buckeye Union is also anticipating funding in 2027 for a new high school with capacity for 1,950 students.
Riverside Elementary/Florence Unified
Riverside Elementary School District in Maricopa County and Florence Unified School District in Pinal County are each asking for a $75M bond authorization to be on the November 3rd ballot. Riverside is also asking for an override. Riverside’s last bond request was in 2014 for $50M and was approved by voters. Florence had a bond request of $25M in 2017 that was also approved.
If approved, $59M of the $75M bond total for Riverside would go toward student safety and security upgrades, cafeteria equipment, distance learning equipment, facility renovations and improvements and school construction. About $13.5M will go toward purchasing laptops, hardware, software, etc. for students and the other $2.5M would go toward school vehicles.
Just like Riverside, Florence would also earmark approximately $59.1M toward constructing new/remodeling school buildings, safety and security upgrades and facility improvements. Approximately $9.9M is expected to go toward technology and equipment upgrades and $6M would go toward school vehicles.
Other Bonds Requested
Interesting to note this fiscal year, are the bond requests that are also coming from school districts that have not submitted a bond measure since at least 2012. Those districts include:
- Cartwright Elementary School District #83 – Maricopa County – $60M
- Humboldt Unified School District – Yavapai County – $30M, Override
- Toltec Elementary School District #22 – Pinal County – $8M
- Tanque Verde Unified School District #13 – Pima County – $6.1M
Colorado City Unified School District #14 in Mohave County and Thatcher Unified School District are also requesting bonds; however, we were unable to determine the valuation of their requests by press time.
Needs Remain for School Facilities
School facility maintenance and construction in Arizona is crucial for continued student population growth and education needs. For many years, local schools have gone through significant state funding cuts and for some districts, the bond approval process and maintenance and override funds are the only critical resource available to keep the facilities in good working order.