Crane to seek budget override
District board OKs resolution asking voters to approve $1.5 million annually over 7 years
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.