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Sat, Jan. 18

Special election set on overrides

In November, voters will decide whether to continue two budget overrides to enable the school district to exceed state-mandated levels on spending and to raise the money from property owners.

Two overrides are currently in effect - one that allows the district to exceed the maintenance and operations budget by 10 percent, and a second that allows another 5-percent increase to keep class sizes small and help fund education for grades kindergarten-three. Together, they enable the district to budget nearly $270,000 over what state statute allows and to assess that from taxpayers.

Once approved by voters, overrides are added to the tax base for seven years. For the first five, the full amount is levied. For the next two, they phase out by a third.

The 10-percent override is in its sixth year while the 5-percent override is in its fifth year.

If both votes pass, for the 2009-2010 school year, the district will be able to budget $3.388 million. If neither vote passes, that limit will be $3.228 million. The limit with just the 10-percent override will be $3.365 million and with just the 5-percent override, it will be $3.251 million.

"Without the overrides, we will have to cut positions, programs or both," said Superintendent Sheila Breen. "The overrides help us fund art, music, after-school interventions, tutoring and the ability to fund two kindergarten classrooms. These funds will also help us pay for the costs we have no control over like rising costs of propane, electricity and fuel for the school buses. This is especially important now that we've added the bus runs to Valle."

The Grand Canyon School Board also supports both overrides.

The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election is Oct. 6. Early voting starts on Oct. 2 and is offered at the Grand Canyon School District office through Oct. 31. Oct. 24 is the last day to request an early ballot.

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