TUHSD Candidate Forum

The candidates during the Tempe Union High School District governing board candidate forum at Mountain Pointe High School on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

Tempe Union High School District will ask voters to approve a 15 percent override along with a $75 million bond next month.

Now with the ability to ask for overrides more than 10 percent, which is the district’s current amount, it will request an override approval up to 15 percent. That extra 5 percent would give the district an additional $3.3 million, which would be directed to reducing class size, reduce or eliminate course and activity fees, as well as expand learning programs.

The Maintenance and Operations Override and an authorization of a general obligation bond for health and safety issues made it to this year’s election ballot in June.

The override functions essentially as a tax increase for each homeowner. The tax will raise the secondary assessed value, for homeowners, by about $24, said Diane Meulemans, chief financial officer for the Tempe Union High School District.

If the override fails, the current 10 percent that was voted on back in 2008 would begin to phase out. During that phase out, the district’s budget would be cut by a third in 2013 and another third in 2014.

“If it doesn’t pass, (the budget) would continue to go down,” Meulemans said.

In the 2008-2009 fiscal year, the district’s budget was cut by nearly $1.8 million as an effect.

Along with the proposed override, voters will also be asked to approve a $75 million bond for maintenance, building additions or modifications and ground improvements.

According to the district, the bond money would be distributed to its seven schools as well as about $5 million going to transportation and the district office. Of the $75 million, nearly $39.6 million will be used for the replacement of equipment, systems and surface in the high schools.

Desert Vista High School would get $12.6 million from the bond, with Mountain Pointe High School possibly receiving $7.38 million.

Among a list for each school, bond projects for the Ahwatukee Foothills schools include adding new chiller and cooling towers, replacing hot water heaters, replacing isolation valves, and adding restrooms for faculty and special needs students.

If voters don’t approve of the bond, the district’s current operating budget would have to be used for emergency item funding.

Election Day is Nov. 6. Early voting begins Oct. 11.

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

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