By Teri Carnicelli
Two school districts in the North Central Phoenix community—Osborn Elementary School District and Phoenix Union High School District—on Nov. 7 will ask voters from the area to support bond sales and budget overrides.
Osborn’s capital committee, which included community members and school leaders, conducted a needs assessment of all schools, facilities, equipment and technology to determine and prioritize the capital projects of the district.
In addition to necessary facility repairs, capital funds must also support instructional needs, such as textbooks, technology equipment, student software and materials.
A bond is a loan the district receives from individuals who purchase the bonds to pay for capital items and make capital improvements to existing facilities. Bond funds cannot be used for salaries, curriculum or instructional materials. The $50 million bond will be used to remodel and renovate school facilities, buildings and grounds. This includes roofing, flooring, furniture, and equipment. Approximately 23 percent of the district’s facilities are more than 40 years old, and 55 percent are between 18-40 years old. Funds also will be used for repairing and upgrading school buses.
A DAA Override allows the school district to increase its capital budget for a total of seven years. Override funds can be used for curriculum and instructional materials. The $1.5 million override (per year) would be spent on updating curriculum and instructional materials, as well as additional technology.
For a home in the Osborn district valued at $102,133, the bond will increase the secondary property tax by $7.31 a month, and the DAA override will add an additional $3.20 per month.
Phoenix Union High School District also is looking to issue a bond and get approval to extend its current Maintenance and Operations (M&O) Override. 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 continuation would be $24.3 million, approximately equal to the current secondary tax rate for the existing budget override. The override provides funding for more 400 teachers and support staff who directly impact students and student achievement. Funds also help maintain elective subjects, performing arts and JROTC, as well as maintain smaller class sizes and offer college prep courses and student leadership development.
The bond would be for $269 million to fund maintenance, and renovation of school buildings and technology. The bond would also cover purchasing buses.
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 rate for the proposed bond authorization is approximately $38 a year for a home with an assessed value of $100,000.
This is Maricopa County’s first all-mail election. There will be no voting centers; all residents living within these school districts who are registered to vote will receive a mail-in ballot beginning on Oct. 11.
If you fail to get your ballot in the mail in time to be counted, you can drop it off at either school district’s office. PUHSD ballots can be dropped off from Oct. 28-Nov. 7 at 4502 N. Central Ave. Osborn District ballots can be dropped off Nov. 3-7 at 1226 W. Osborn Road.
For more information, visit https://recorder.maricopa.gov.