“School districts in Arizona are allowed by state law to increase their (M&O) budgets each year by up to 15 percent of the revenue control limit imposed by the state legislature,” according to the fact sheet provided by CUSD. “M&O funds are used almost exclusively for salaries for teachers and staff.”
About half of the school districts in Arizona, which represents 80-85 percent of the state’s students, have a budget override in place at this time, according to the the fact sheet.
CUSD requested a 10 percent override increase on Nov. 2, 2010 that failed to pass, said Sandra Golde, executive assistant for CUSD.
If passed, there would not have been a lapse in funds like the one the school will experience 2012-13 school year.
If passed, estimated revenues for a 10 percent budget increase would have resulted in an extra $2,131,324, according to the Nov. 2, 2010 fact sheet.
The funds, which are allocated to be utilized in part for teacher salaries to lower class size and to retain and restore physical education classes, art and music programs and extracurricular activities including athletics, will raise property taxes for all property owners in the CUSD area, whether they have kids or not, Ms. Johnson said.
“Students do better in smaller classes,” she said in regards to raising class sizes.
Additionally, the district wouldn’t be able to sustain all of the sports programs it offers and though it hasn’t been decided which programs would be cut or reduced, the district would very likely have to cut some of its sport offerings, Ms. Johnson said.
The tax, which is part of the secondary asset value and is charged at the time of property taxes, will cost the average taxpayer $98 per year, per $100,000, based on the cash value of their home, Ms. Johnson said.
A person with a home with a cash value of $300,000 would owe $294 per year.
If the override is passed, it will be in effect for seven years, said Shalee Ziegler, director of business for CUSD.
If the override passes, the money will be available starting with the 2013-14 school year, she said.
This means, cuts that have been made for the 2012-13 year will not change based on whether, or not, the override passes.
The budget cuts for the 2012-13 school year, which include $1.7 million in override funding as well as significant reductions in state funding, resulted in unprecedented reductions for the upcoming school year, according to the fact sheet. Budget reductions made this year will result in larger class sizes, a reduction in staff, a reduction of classroom supplies and materials, fewer employees and services to maintain facilities and no new technology to support student learning, stated the fact sheet.
If the override is not renewed, the district will be forced to cut the operating budget as the state continues to reduce funding for K-12 education, according to the fact sheet.
“Class sizes will increase, programs for students will be reduced or eliminated and salaries will not be competitive with other school districts,” according to the fact sheet.
If an override is not renewed, the amount of funding decreases by one-third the sixth year and two-thirds the seventh year. In year eight, it expires, according to the fact sheet. Continuation overrides are not new taxes, but per state law, they must be renewed through an election, which would continue them for another seven years.
Without the override, P.E. would have to be cut at elementary and middle school levels, Ms. Johnson said.
“ We’re very concerned about the health of our students,” Ms. Johnson said in regards to cutting the P.E. programs at CUSD.
“ We don’t want to cut P.E.,” she said, but programs like language arts and math can’t be cut because they are a requirement for state testing. This means the district has to cut non-mandatory programs, like P.E.
Additionally, arts and music programs, which have already been cut at the elementary level for the 2012-13 school year, would have to be cut at the middle school level as well, she said. If the override is passed, the district would be able to bring back the art and music programs at the elementary level.
The budget override would affect more than just the school and the students.
The passing of the override would help keep property values up because the area would have quality schools, Ms. Johnson said.
The M&O override will be on the Nov. 6 ballot with early voting available for the measure starting Oct. 11, according to the fact sheet.
By Nora Heston