For the past 13 months, the Kyrene School District Governing Board listened as ideas were presented to them with the goal of making up a projected $5.2 million reduction for its 2012-13 budget.

In the end, on Tuesday, they voted 4-0, with one member not present, to approve of the budget presented to them by Kyrene administration.

“After 13 months of a lot of hard work by board members, staff and community, of shaping this budget, we’ve now reached a point where we are ready to adopt,” said Jeremy Calles, chief financial officer for Kyrene. “This work reflects the one team approach to doing what is best for all students so we have had some difficult conversations along the way but we’ve been able to land on a budget for what is best for all students.”

Calles said the avenues they took to reduce spending did not harm what is most important in the Kyrene School District — the education of children and dollars spent in the classroom.

To that effect, there will be no reduction in force going into the 2012-13 school year and, for the first time in years, the Kyrene staff received a 2 percent salary increase.

“Kyrene currently puts 61.8 percent of their dollars into the classroom,” Calles said. “Kyrene leads the state with the highest percent of dollars going to the classroom and that’s of any school district over 3,000 students.”

The adopted maintenance and operations budget was adopted at $98.8 million, with a total of $113.6 million.

Kyrene will finally benefit from Move on When Reading Funds, which was passed by voters in 2010 and states that if students do not meet standards, they will not move on to fourth grade. Calles said that in the governor’s budget, money would be allocated to school districts who have students who do not meet the standard.

The money could be used for intervention programs and tools to correct those issues, Calles said.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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