As schools in the Kyrene School District begin to prepare for the first day back, the Kyrene Governing Board met on Tuesday to discuss what will be implemented for the new school year.

One concern brought up during the meeting was the 2013-14 adopted budget for this fiscal year.

Kyrene’s CFO Jeremy Calles spoke to the governing board on how the primary and secondary tax rates work for homeowners in the Kyrene School District. 

Calles said that the tax rates have increased since the 2008-09 school year, which was an increase of 35.9 percent, but that the district has been experiencing deep spending cuts.

He presented these concerns after a local newspaper published a three-page article on the excess valuation and highlighted that Kyrene had an increase on the tax rates.

The decrease in the excess valuation is not going to be the same percentage as the increase of the tax rate when compensating for those changes, Calles said.

“In the two years that were analyzed in the articles, people are actually paying less tax to Kyrene from the 2008-09 year,” Calles said.

During the housing market crash, to balance out everyone’s declining excess valuation was to raise the property tax rate, Calles said.

He informed the governing board that although the local homeowner tax rate has increased since 2008-09, they’re actually paying less in taxes.

Calles added that when excess valuations are going down, the tax rate is increased so the same amount of money can be raised in the year before, allowing all individuals to pay their own equal share.

Plans to save cost on energy were also touched on during the meeting, but will be addressed more in-depth at the next governing board meeting on Aug. 13. 

School nutrition

During Tuesday’s governing board meeting members of the board were introduced to Southwest Foodservice Excellence, who will be assisting with making sure students in the Kyrene district are receiving the correct nourishment during lunch. 

Director of Dining Services Paul Stanley spoke to members of the board on the different ideas he and his team have for the upcoming school year.

Their goals are to enhance the children’s quality of life through fresh whole foods, exceptional services, and strong focus on nutritional values. 

Increasing participation from the students by getting feedback on how they feel about the quality of food they’re being given during school is a concern Southwest Foodservices will be focusing on.

“We will be trying to obtain the feedback through parent/teacher organizations, focus groups, aerobic chef demonstrations, and any other chances we get.” Stanley said.

Students will also get the chance to fill out surveys on the different types of food they would like to eat, along with sharing their experience on customer service, taste and the presentation of their meals.

Stanley said their staff does not plan on firing any previous employees who are working for Kyrene.

“We’ve hired every employee who wanted to stay on, so we kept all of them at the same position to keep everything as consistent as we can with this transition,” Stanley said. 

The Aug. 13 governing board meeting will begin at 7 p.m., a week after school starts.

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