After a year that tested the strength of both the general and school community in Ahwatukee Foothills, even greater challenges could be ahead in 2013.
As the Kyrene School District enters the spring semester, it will face an $8.9 budget deficit for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Voters in November’s election dismissed Proposition 204, which would have made permanent a 1 percent sales tax increase that offered an estimated majority of an annual $1 billion toward education. A lack of bond sales also worked against the district, leaving financial officers to find ways around cutting programs and increasing classroom sizes.
“We don’t want to impact our children,” Superintendent Dr. David Schauer said in a previous report. “And we frankly hope we won’t have to go there this next year.”
With the state’s upcoming legislative session, resuming Jan. 14, it could have a positive or negative effect for how much a school district can bond based on the secondary assessed values.
“If the bond legislation doesn’t pass teachers (and all other employees) will have their salary frozen for the fifth time in the past six years,” Calles said in early December.
Another step the district will take to offset the deficit is tapping into the reserves balance. The district’s savings account, though having many restrictions on how the funds can be used, would be able to help with the deficit.
Jeremy Calles, Kyrene’s chief financial officer, said during a presentation that the reserves have about $12.7 million in unrestricted funds.
Meanwhile at Tempe Union, voters approved $75 million in bonds to address facilities issues, giving Desert Vista High School $12.66 million and Mountain Pointe High School $7.38 million to replace equipment, systems and surfaces.
In addition, governing boards for both school districts gained local representation from John King starting at Kyrene, and Moses Sanchez at Tempe Union.
Each district’s governing board will reconvene this month.
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