The Public Policy Committee met Friday afternoon to hear a brief discussion about the Maintenance and Operations Override, which voters will be asked to either approve or decline in the upcoming November election.
Dr. Kenneth Baca, superintendent of the Tempe Union High School District (TUHSD), said the M&O Override has been in place since 1983.
“We are not looking to increase the amount, we are looking to continue what is already there,” Baca said.
According to a TUHSD fact sheet, the current M&O Override funds ($6.75 million) support in different schooling areas such as basic instructional programs, staffing for smaller class sizes, staff development, athletic and extra-curricular programs and facilities maintenance programs.
As of right now, the district has a voter-approved 10 percent M&O Override in effect, which is approved through the 2013-14 fiscal year.
If voters choose to not extend the override during the Nov. 5 election, the override will phase out by one-third in 2014-15, resulting in decreased funding in the reduction of teaching staff, elective and extra-curricular offerings and support staff.
“In how it affects people as tax payers, the override is a continuation we’ve had since 1983, meaning it does not cause the tax rate to increase,” Baca said. “It affects the tax rate in that it continues to ask for the same amount we’ve generated, which is that 10 percent.”
Baca did affirm to the Public Policy Committee he’s legally not allowed to ask members to vote a certain way, but his colleague Dick Foreman, vice chairman of the Yes Support Our Schools Campaign, is.
Foreman informed the committee that the continuation of the override will assist with the funding of extracurricular activates for students, keeping them in programs and off the streets.
He added that individuals will not be paying extra for the override, but will be gaining state-wide leading academic achievement.
In its last override requests, TUHSD was unable to tap into the community of Ahwatukee for the backing of the override, losing all precincts in the area.
“We have to do a better job in communicating to the community of Ahwatukee,” Foreman said. “We failed to sell why it’s important… and we cannot permit that.”
For more information about the Yes Support Our School Campaign, visit www.yessupportourschools.org.
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