Chamber Business News

Local education funding results

The results are in and early elections results show voters approved a majority of the nearly $1 billion in additional funding for Arizona school districts through local bonds and overrides.

Across Arizona, 39 school districts asked local voters to approve 11 bonds and 31 overrides in the general election. Early results show 24 are passing and 19 are failing.

Those results are likely to change, as some races remain close – for example, Casa Grande Elementary School District, where early results show its budget override failing by just one vote. In many of the smaller rural districts, races could be decided by a few dozen votes.

The bond and override funds generate additional tax revenue for school districts to pay for projects ranging from new campuses to teacher salaries. Arizona’s school districts are funded by a mix of federal, state and local funding. State law allows school districts to ask local voters to increase taxes to pay for specific projects and programs. Public charter schools cannot access this source of funding.

Of the 15 districts where a majority of the schools are rated ‘A’ or ‘B,’ early results show eight are passing and nine are failing. Both Mesa Unified and Tanque Verde Unified had two questions on the ballot. As it stands, Mesa voters are rejecting both the bond and override question, while Tanque Verde voters are supporting a Maintenance & Operations override but rejecting the sale of bonds.

Voters in Pima County rejected bond requests from both Tanque Verde Unified and Vail Unified districts, but approved Tanque Verde’s override.

“I believe there was an anti-bond sentiment in Pima County because there was a very unpopular county wide road repair bond that failed and Vail, a high quality and growing eastside district, also failed to pass their bond,” said Tanque Verde school board member Carlos Ruiz. “We’re going to have to regroup and see what we are going to do about addressing the many capital needs in our district.”

PASSING –

  • Benson Unified (Bond)
  • Catalina Foothills Unified (M&O Override)
  • Glendale Union (M&O Override)
  • Grand Canyon Unified (M&O Override)
  • Osborn Elementary (M&O Override)
  • David Unified School District (M&O Override)
  • Tanque Verde Unified (M&O Override)
  • Washington Elementary (M&O Override)

FAILING –

  • Bonita Elementary School District (M&O Override)
  • Humboldt Unified (Bond)
  • Mesa Unified (Bond, M&O Override)
  • Nadaburg Unified (Bond)
  • Peoria Unified (Bond)
  • Santa Cruz Valley (M&O Override)
  • Tanque Verde Unified (Bond)
  • Vail Unified (Bond)

On the flipside, voters in nine school district that have no schools rated ‘A’ or ‘B’ are split on whether to approve additional funding.

In Roosevelt Elementary School District in south Phoenix, school board member Lawrence Robinson said a targeted campaign that highlighted the investments in school improvement is what swayed voters to say ‘yes’ to their District Additional Assistance Override.

“What was different in my approach is that I offered voters an honest look at what’s working to improve our schools and asked them to increase their investment in those areas while choosing to target and remove wasteful spending and ineffective projects from our budget,” he said. “This approach makes sense and has garnered a diverse majority of voters to vote yes on investing in the best future for our kids.”

PASSING –

  • Roosevelt Elementary (District Additional Assistance Override)
  • Union Elementary (M&O Override)
  • Wilson Elementary (District Additional Assistance Override)
  • Holbrook Unified (M&O Override)

PASSING –

  • Buckeye Elementary (Bond)
  • Gila Bend Unified (Bond)
  • Altar Valley Elementary (M&O Override)
  • Casa Grande Union (M&O Override)
  • Eloy Elementary (M&O Override)

Find the full list of bond and override results here. Stay tuned to Chamber Business News as more results are tallied.

Megan Gilbertson

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