Three Pinal County school districts are seeking override extensions in Nov. 4 election

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Oracle voters will be asked a second time to approve an extension of the district’s budget overrides.

By James J. Hodl

Copper Area News

Three school districts in Pinal County will be asking voters to approve tax overrides to support their maintenance and operations budgets on Nov. 4.

Both the Oracle Elementary School District and the Superior Unified School District has filed for 15 percent overrides while the Ray Unified School District based in Kearny is seeking a 10 percent override. Under Arizona law, individual school districts can seek voter approval through property taxes additional funding equivalent to up to 15 percent more than is allocated in the state budget approved by the state legislature.

Of the three districts, the most energized is the Oracle Elementary School District, which in 2013 came only 52 votes short of approving a 15 percent override.

“Oracle needs the full override funding to maintain the current level of instructional programs. Since the heartbreaking loss in 2013 we had to trim the budget by nearly $154,000 for the upcoming school year and, without a reauthorization of the 15 percent override we might have cut deeper, which would affect some of educational programs,” said Dennis Blauser, superintendent of Oracle Elementary.

To put the override over the top this year, the district is casting a wider net in search of voters. Pitches for the override have already been delivered before a meeting of the local Republican and Democrat parties and to the local Rotary Club. An independent political action committee called SOS (Support Our Schools) has been organized by citizen Jana Looby that is currently fundraising to support efforts to promote the override in the fall.

“We will be canvasing door to door, making phone calls and passing out leaflets to get the word out that without reauthorization of the full 15 percent override some educational programs might be lost,” Looby said. “We’ll be meeting with church and other groups, with special emphasis on the SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch communities where we feel the extra votes can be found.”

“Every effort to broaden support for Oracle schools will be attempted,” Blauser promised.

Blauser emphasized that approval of the override is simply a continuation of the existing override so there will be no increase in property taxes. The school part of the local property tax is only about 24 cents per $100,000 of property valuation.

Superior Unified School District (SUSD) is likewise seeking continuation of its existing 15 percent override.

“We are in our fifth year of the current override, so we are going to the voters to keep it 15 percent,” said SUSD Superintendent Patrick O’Donnell. “Otherwise beginning in 2015 we’ll have to start trimming the maintenance and operations budget.”

Under Arizona law, overrides are authorized by voters for only seven years. If not approved for another full term after the fifth year, the tax override is reduced by one-third in the sixth year, two-thirds in the seventh year, and reaches zero in the eighth year.

To promote approval of the override referendum, at least one citizens group has been formed to take the message to citizens throughout the district. A major tool of his group is a slide show promoting the value of education and how it benefits the community – and how cutbacks in instruction programs can have an adverse effect – that will be presented at church and other meetings.

“Approval of the override also will help SUSD modify its loss of $69,000 in Title 1 funds, provided as a federal grant to help students needing help in mastering reading,” O’Donnell said. He added that if the additional funding to school recently ordered by Maricopa County Judge Katherine Cooper were forthcoming, Superior would get an additional $75,000 in state funding, which also would cover the Title 1 loss.

Approval of the override will keep the schools’ share of the local property tax at $1.34 per $100,000 property valuation.

The Ray Unified School District in Kearny is asking voters to approve a 10 percent tax override in November to keep from having to trim its budget and educational programs. A spokesperson for the district said Ray officials have studied how school districts in Miami and Casa Grande promoted their override referendum to victory in 2013 and will try to do likewise.

Approval of the Ray override will keep the schools’ share of the local property tax at $1.06 per $100,000 property valuation.

James Hodl (91 Posts)

James J. Hodl is a career journalist who has worked for newspapers, magazines and trade journals. A graduate of Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism, Hodl began his career as a reporter with the Palatine (IL) Herald and the Morton Grove (IL) Review before becoming editor of the trade publication Appliance Service News. In recent years, Hodl has had articles published in Consumers Digest, Good Housekeeping, Home Remodeling, Kitchens & Baths and Salute; and has contributed to trade publications serving the home furnishings, restaurant and casino markets. A native of Chicago, Hodl relocated to San Tan Valley in 2013.


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwitterby feather

Comments are closed.

  • Additional Stories

    Paul Sears, a lifetime of making music

    13 hours ago
    by

      Musician Paul Sears has never lost his passion for making music.    When Paul Sears was a teen, there […]


    Bueno, Murray lead Panthers past Lobos

    13 hours ago
    by

      Marcos Bueno and Jalon Murray combined for 51 points in the No. 13-ranked Superior boys’ basketball team’s 59 – […]


    Not just being optimistic, these were really great burgers!

    14 hours ago
    by

    On Jan. 7 and 8, the Superior Optimist Club sold their famous hamburgers at the Picket Post House at the […]


    Paint and beautification of Main St. continues

    14 hours ago
    by

    The Superior Chamber of Commerce, working through its Business Attraction and Retention Subcommittee, is continuing its program to paint and […]


  • Additional Stories

    Lady Panthers fall to Lobos but results are still divine

    14 hours ago
    by

      The Hayden girls’ basketball team defeated Superior 39 – 22 in the Lady Panthers’ first game since the passing […]


    Something strange in your neighborhood? Might want to call some ghost hunters

    14 hours ago
    by

     Got Ghosts?    The town of Superior might. And that’s what the Phoenix Scientific Paranormal Investigations is here to find […]


    Town Council signs on to 5-year plan to upgrade Superior streets; worst roads to get first attention

    14 hours ago
    by

    Installation of new easier-to-read street signs will begin in March: ADOT’s Teague   Myriad issues concerning the revitalization of Superior […]


    Town of Superior finds ways to recycle, reuse, repurpose asphalt millings

    14 hours ago
    by

      Asphalt millings from the US 60 project are being used for a number of improvements in the town of […]


  • Copperarea

  • [Advertisement.]
  • [Advertisement.]
  • Southeast Valley Ledger

  • Arizona Headlines & Current Weather