By a margin of just 226 votes, voters approved a ballot measure that will continue a budget override of $6.8 million a year for the Kyrene School District.
The final results, 11,715 for the measure and 11,489 against, were released by the Maricopa County Recorder's office on Tuesday. The current budget override was set to expire at the end of the 2012-13 school year, but the approval will continue it for an additional seven years.
Before the last of the provisional and mail-in votes were counted, the measure looked like it was going to fail by the slimmest of margins. By passing what was referred to as a "budget increase," voters put Kyrene in the minority of school districts in Maricopa County, with seven measures failing and just two passing, according to election results.
Seventy-five percent of the funds from the budget override, which comes from a secondary tax, goes toward in-classroom technology. In previous years, it went to pay for interactive SMART Boards, laptops and software. The remainder went to areas like transportation, computer networks, and administrative programming.
Kyrene governing board members Michelle Hirsch and Ross Robb released a written statement that called the results a "victory," and also a "call to action."
"We thank the voters who recognized the dire need for the continuation of the override by casting a YES vote on this question," the statement read.
They also described how they would like to see more broad support for the district: "We wonder how we, as the politically diverse representatives of all of Kyrene (not just of those that vote for or with us), can reach out in a non-partisan manner to our friends and neighbors who wished to end the Capital Override funding and discuss the real world consequences of the ongoing funding challenges that we face in Kyrene."
Evidence of that challenge is represented by the fact that "the district's Operating Budget experienced a decline of over 10.5 percent and $11.3 million since it peaked at $106.4 million in 2008-09."
Budget discussion are ongoing at governing board meetings, which take place every two weeks at the Kyrene district office, 8700 S. Kyrene Road in Tempe. To find out more about the budget process, visit www.Kyrene.org.
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