Ballots must be postmarked before 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7

Ahwatukee voters who haven’t yet mailed in their ballots for the two public school districts’ override requests might want to hit the post office today.

Although ballots must be postmarked before 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, the Maricopa County Recorder’s office as well as Kyrene and Tempe Union High School districts are recommending they be mailed no later than today.

County Recorder workers have been at Pecos Community Center to take those ballots.

Voters also can go to Pecos Community Center, on 48th Street just south of Frye Road, to cast votes during the following times: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. today and tomorrow, Nov. 1 and Nov 2; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.

Kyrene has three ballot questions in the all-mail election while Tempe Union High has one.

All registered voters received both ballots, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Recorder’s office said.

However, spokeswoman Karen Loschiavo said that only applies to this election and that voters who want to get on the permanent list for other elections must request it.

Kyrene is seeking continuation of its 15 percent maintenance and operations and its 15 percent capital overrides and because both already are in place, neither will result in a property tax increase.

The largest part of the maintenance and operations override pays 210 teachers’ salaries.

The rest covers special programs such as music, art and physical education; instructional interventions and middle school “exploratories” such as classes in coding, foreign languages, culinary and performing arts and STEM.

The capital override supports Kyrene’s technology program, maintaining the devices such as laptops, tablets, whiteboards; software licenses, school security systems, parent services such as ParentVue, crisis notification and online payment options; and school buses and maintenance vehicles.

The combined additional taxes for the two overrides amounts to $232 annually on a home valued at $238,270, the average value of a home in the district, which includes parts of Tempe, Chandler and Mesa as well as all three Ahwatukee ZIP codes.

The bond question would allow Kyrene to borrow a maximum of $116 million to make capital repairs on its buildings – many of which are 30 years old. Those repairs also would allow the district to expand its preschool program, which currently has a waiting list of about 150 children, the district says.

The money also can be used to buy new school buses to replace those too old to be of much use anymore.

Taxes would go up by about $23 a year on a home valued at $204,000 if Tempe Union’s override is approved. The annual tax bill on a home valued at $204,000 in the district is currently $47.

Tempe Union not only wants to continue a current 10 percent maintenance and operations override but to also increase that to the maximum 15 percent.

That additional 5 percent has been designated exclusively for the recruitment and retention of “highly effective teachers” and staff through raises that would be incrementally increased over five years, starting with 2 percent in the first year and 1 percent annually in each of the four following years.

The existing 10 percent override in Tempe Union is used, among other things, to keep class sizes small, fund electives and student support services, support preventive maintenance programs and pay for athletic and other extracurricular programs.

The nonpartisan Valley Interfaith Project said it supports Kyrene’s override.

“Strong public schools benefit all of us, whether we have school-aged children or not. For more than 10 years, Arizona public schools have sustained harsh budget cuts. State per-pupil funding is near the lowest in the nation,” board vice president Bob Klassen said.

Go to next Tuesday night for results.

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