Crane to seek bud­get over­ride

District board OKs res­o­lu­tion ask­ing vot­ers to ap­prove $1.5 mil­lion an­nu­ally over 7 years

Yuma Sun - - FRONT PAGE - BY AMY CRAW­FORD SUN STAFF WRITER

The Crane School District will seek a district ad­di­tional as­sis­tance over­ride in the Novem­ber gen­eral elec­tion.

“I think it’s un­for­tu­nate that we have to turn to our lo­cal com­mu­nity to pro­vide for things that I think … should be a given in our schools,” said board Pres­i­dent Brenna Paulin dur­ing dis­cus­sion on the item.

The gov­ern­ing board ap­proved a res­o­lu­tion at its Tues­day evening meet­ing au­tho­riz­ing the district to call for a DAA over­ride on a vote of 4 to 0. Gov­ern­ing board mem­ber Jim Colby par­tic­i­pated in the meet­ing by phone; board mem­ber Terre Catan­zaro was ab­sent.

DAA, or district ad­di­tional as­sis­tance, is what was once known as cap­i­tal fund­ing, and paid for things such as build­ings, books, cur­ricu­lum, school buses, and tech­nol­ogy.

While the Ari­zona Leg­is­la­ture agreed in its most re­cent ses­sion to re­store some DAA funds, it does not make up for the loss through the years, Su­per­in­ten­dent Lau­rie Do­er­ing said af­ter the meet­ing.

“We still have 10 years of fund­ing to make up,” Do­er­ing said af­ter the meet­ing.

“I feel that our leg­is­la­ture kind of let us down in this re­spect,” Paulin said in open ses­sion. “A com­mu­nity such as ours doesn’t have a lot of ex­tra in­come to spend on things. I know we all want the best and safest en­vi­ron­ment for our kids; and I hope the com­mu­nity will un­der­stand that this is some­thing that we felt was nec­es­sary to do.”

The district is ask­ing vot­ers to al­low it to raise $1.5 mil­lion or 10 per­cent of the district’s rev­enue con­trol limit, which­ever is less, yearly for a pe­riod of seven years, said Chief of Oper­a­tions and Fi­nance Dale Pon­der.

The rev­enue con­trol limit in­cludes all of the fi­nances of the district (but not district ad­di­tional as­sis­tance), Pon­der said, which for the com­ing year is about $30 mil­lion, mean­ing Crane could ask vot­ers for $3 mil­lion.

“We’re looking at about half of that,” Pon­der said.

Funds would be used to sup­port tech­nol­ogy de­vices, equip­ment, soft­ware and in­fra­struc­ture; trans­porta­tion ve­hi­cles, buses and equip­ment; and school safety and se­cu­rity in­fra­struc­ture and equip­ment.

If it passes, the district es­ti­mates that the over­ride would cost tax­pay­ers about 67 cents per $100 dol­lars of as­sessed value, or about $65 a year on the av­er­age home in the district, Pon­der said.

Colby asked how many

bonds the district had out­stand­ing, to which Pon­der noted that the district is set to pay off one of its bonds in July, and oth­ers in 2020, 2023, and 2031.

As those bonds are paid down and fin­ished, the district’s sec­ondary tax rate will de­crease, he noted.

Board mem­ber Sarah Clar­idge pointed out that the Ari­zona Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion now re­quires the AZMerit as­sess­ment to be taken on a com­puter, and that the district’s iPads and other de­vices would have to be re­placed.

Board mem­ber Dan Farar, who has served on school boards through­out the state, lamented the lack of fund­ing and noted that it puts dis­tricts in a bind.

“We can’t keep ‘BandAid­ing’ things to­gether,” he said. “It’s un­for­tu­nate that this is the op­tion we have.”

Ar­gu­ments for or against the ini­tia­tive are due in the Yuma County School Su­per­in­ten­dent’s of­fice by 5 p.m. Aug. 8.

The board also re­vis­ited the salary and ben­e­fits pack­age for em­ploy­ees. The board voted to give teach­ers (as de­fined by At­tor­ney Gen­eral opinion 113-005) a raise of 11 per­cent, while other em­ploy­ees will re­ceive a 3 per­cent in­crease. The re­vi­sion was made af­ter fund­ing was fi­nal­ized by the Leg­is­la­ture. The

board ap­proved the pack­age on a 4 to 0 vote.

Board mem­bers also ap­proved a re­vi­sion in pol­icy con­cern­ing the district’s pay sched­ule, which af­fects mostly hourly work­ers, Do­er­ing said. The pol­icy, DKA Pay­roll Pro­ce­dures/Sched­ules, calls for a pay pe­riod no more than ev­ery 16 days.

It ba­si­cally means that pay­checks will re­flect hours worked, she noted.

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