What is the difference between an override and a bond and why do they require voter approval?
When the funding provided by the state isn’t enough to meet the needs of all students, the state allows school districts to ask for local support through bonds and overrides. This requires Governing Board approval to be placed on a ballot for the community to vote.
Maintenance and Operations Overrides
are used to provide additional funding to support people and programs. School districts may ask for an increase of up to 15 percent of their revenue control limit for a term of seven years. Many districts will ask voters to approve a renewal in year 4 or 5 of an override to maintain a consistent level of funding. If not renewed, the amount decreases by 1/3 in the sixth year, 2/3 in the seventh year, and is fully eliminated in year eight. The Peoria Unified School District has had an override in place since 2001.
Bonds are similar to loans that are authorized by voters and used to purchase capital items and/or make capital improvements to existing facilities, such as building or renovating a school or purchasing school buses. The funding can only be used to fund projects that have a useful life longer than five years. They are repaid over a set period of time, and the district must provide the community with information on how the dollars are spent. Funds from a bond cannot be used for employee compensation.
When was the last time the community supported an override for the Peoria Unified School District?
Voters passed an override in 2015, which was used to bring back free full-day kindergarten. It currently provides salary increases to Peoria Unified staff and provides funds for additional positions such as assistant principals, school nurses, instructional coaches and programs such as arts education, athletics and extra-curricular activities.
Do other districts have an override in place?
There are 33 surrounding districts in Maricopa County that currently have a 15% override in place, including Dysart, Deer Valley and Paradise Valley Unified School Districts. Peoria Unified only has a 13% override.
Does Peoria Unified currently have an override in place and what does it fund?
Like most school districts in the state, the Peoria Unified School District has an M&O override in place, which has been approved by voters since 1996. The override currently in place funds employees in our schools such as school nurses, and assistant principals, as well as programs, such as physical education, arts education, reading and gifted programs, all-day kindergarten, athletics, and extracurricular activities. It is also used to provide teacher and staff compensation and helps maintain class sizes to a standard set forth by our Governing Board.
If an override is already in place, why is there an override on the November 3, 2020 ballot?
The current override expires in 2020 and will begin to phase out in FY 2022 if not renewed by the voters on November 3, 2020.
What will happen if the override is not renewed?
Without the continuation of the M&O override, the district would lose more than $28 million a year in funds that support people and programs. All staff would see a compensation decrease, the district could no longer maintain health care professionals and assistant principals on all campuses, both of whom directly impact safety on our campuses. In addition, class sizes would increase and the ability to offer programs such as arts, music, physical education and gifted education programs would be threatened. Additionally, there would be a charge for full-day kindergarten. Fees related to athletic and extracurricular activities would also significantly increase and these programs would be reduced.
Why did Peoria Unified choose to add a critical needs bond election to the November ballot?
At the recommendation of district leaders and citizens who met conducted research, the Governing Board voted to include a $125 million critical needs bond at the May 28 Governing Board meeting. The critical needs bond will be used to address maintenance needed to ensure the safety and proper function of aging buildings and buses. There is also exponential growth happening in the northern portion of the Peoria Unified School District and the bond includes the ability to purchase land that could be used for a new high school in the northern portion of the district to accommodate growth.
What will happen if the bond is not renewed?
If the critical needs bond does not pass, Peoria Unified School District will not be able to provide all of the required maintenance and facility updates that are needed at our school and operational facilities. In addition, student and staff technology needs will not be made and aging school buses will not be replaced.
If approved, how will funds from the critical needs bond be spent?
If passed, funds will be used in the following ways:
To renovate and provide essential and critical improvements to instructional and operational buildings at existing elementary, high schools and support centers including restrooms, heating, air conditioning, parking, and roofing projects;
To implement safety features at all school sites;
To replace student and staff computer devices, servers and technology infrastructure;
To replace student transportation vehicles including special education and activity buses;
To acquire land for the future construction of a new high school
An analysis of spending in Arizona School Districts is performed annually by the Auditor General's Office in accordance with Proposition 301 (passed by Arizona voters in 2000). The report offers a clear examination of how tax dollars are spent in the Peoria Unified School District and how that spending compares to other districts and statewide.
Classroom dollar percentage is the amount spent for classroom purposes divided by the total amount spent for day-to-day operations, or total operational spending. Click below to read the most recent Dollars in the Classroom report. Additional details for the Dollars in the Classroom report can be found on the Auditor General's website.