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Override Continuation Election 2020

The Governing Board called for a November 3, 2020 override continuation election. The Maintenance and Operations (M&O) override allows voters to approve additional funding for operational expenses. In Dysart, a 15% maintenance and operation override has been in place since 2000. 

Proposed Continuation of 15% override = No Tax Increase

 

 


 

 


How will the override impact students?
 

 

 

teacher smiling

Competitive teacher salaries to retain highly-qualified staff

 

Math medals

Math & Reading Interventionists,  Teaching & Learning Specialists
for student support

 

empty classroom

120+ teachers to maintain
current class sizes

 

player rounding bases

Salaries for Arts & PE teachers,  coaching stipends for Athletics

 

book shelf reading

30 teachers to continue 
all-day Kindergarten

 
 
 
 
 
Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Maintenance and Operations Override and why do districts need more funding?
The Maintenance and Operations (M&O) override allows voters to approve additional funding for basic operational expenses (i.e., teacher and staff salaries, coaches, supplies, etc.) not adequately funded by state allocations. In Dysart, a maintenance and operation override has been in place since 2000. 

What is Dysart’s record for fiscal responsibility and transparency?
  • Dysart has earned the AASBO Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for 25 years in a row.
  • 8.7% per pupil administration costs are lower than the state average (10.1%).
  • Dysart has continually lived within its means and has not overspent its budget.

What does the district do to try to save money and keep expenses down?
Dysart has a proven track record of saving taxpayer dollars, including:
  • Refinanced bond debt to save taxpayers $10 million
  • Reduced energy bills in some schools by over 10%
  • Working with the Arizona Schools Facility Board on various capital projects. This has brought over $600,000 to the district in the last two years and the projections for the next two year are even more.
  • Energy savings projects that will put LED lights at every school and will allow the district to redistribute the savings to make the payments on that capital improvement. This will impact every school in the district and will do the upgrades without costing the taxpayers anything, just use the current utility funding.
  • Three years ago utility costs were 6% of the budget and we have reduced those to 4% by shaving a total of $1 million dollars in utilities.  Even though we had the hottest summer in record, our APS bill was less than last year in June and July due to implementing automated demand management for cooling our buildings and using solar credits.  

Why do schools need to offer athletics and arts? 
It is very important to provide students with various connections to our schools. Athletics and arts help provide those opportunities for our students to connect to the school.  Students that participate in these types of programs have higher GPAs, higher graduation rates and receive athletic college scholarships. Every community expects their local school to provide students with a comprehensive school experience that includes Arts and Athletics. While these opportunities are not required, if not offered at a high level, families will seek schools that do provide them. Quality schools is a high priority for home buyers. Low quality schools results in lower home values, lower community quality, and a poor local economy. Great schools support great communities.

Do parents supplement athletic costs? 
Yes. Parents pay athletics fees. These fees cover a portion, but not all athletic costs.

How long does it take to rebuild programs like those once they are partially dropped? 
It can take many years to restore programs.  One high school band program was canceled in 1997 due to budget cuts. That band was just restarted in 2018.  Athletics and the arts programs are very important for a well-rounded education and provide students with extraordinary learning experiences.  

Is there a difference in achievement when comparing the students who have had full-day Kindergarten versus those who attended half-day?  
Yes, achievement was tracked and half-day kindergarten students lag behind their full-day peers in academic achievement in first grade.

When did the state stop funding all-day Kindergarten? 
2009 was the last year full-day kindergarten was funded. 

How does full-day Kindergarten impact early learning? 
All day Kindergarten provides a great foundation for social skills, instills the love of learning, sets students up for a positive academic experience. Research shows that students who receive full day Kinder are better prepared socially and academically for  first and second grade compared to students who only had a half-day.

How many students have benefited from the all-day Kindergarten over the last 20 years the override has been in existence? 
Approximately 30,000 benefited from all day Kindergarten over the past twenty years. 

How many students will miss out on all-day Kindergarten if the override isn't renewed? 
About 1,500 children in our community will not have full day kindergarten each year. 

What is included in administrative expenses? 
The AZ Auditor General report combines school, district and central support into the Administration category. About 55% of administrative expenses are at the schools, which include front office staff, the principal, the assistant principal, school aides, etc. The Arizona average for administrative costs is 10.1%, compared to Dysart’s 8.7%, per the latest AZ Auditor General report.  

Do we see tax benefits when there is commercial growth in the community? 
Yes. The growth of commercial properties will increase the district assessed valuation. This increase will move the tax rate down. So, the benefit would be lower taxes to the residents of the district. 

Will any of these funds go to increase teacher’s compensation so that good teachers are maintained? 
Yes, a successful override would maintain Dysart’s competitive teacher salary. It would not increase compensation.  

How do our teacher salaries compare to other district’s? 
Dysart has competitive salaries for teachers ($50,000 for a starting teacher salary.)

Can you tell us how many teaching positions were lost in 2015 after the Override last failed back in 2014? 
Approximately 150 teacher positions were cut.  Because the override was passed the next year in 2015, those positions were able to be brought back.

Approximately how many teaching positions are directly funded by the override currently? 
Currently there are 120+ elementary and high school teachers and 30 Kindergarten teacher positions funded by the override.

How is it determined which staff loses their positions?  
Reduction in Force (RIF) procedures would be implemented to determine the staff that would lose their positions.

How did you determine an election was needed? 
A community override committee reviewed the current override and potential losses/needs and made a recommendation to the Governing Board to place an Override continuation on the ballot.

How does the district fund the free meals offered during the pandemic, and couldn’t that money be better spent elsewhere?
Meal programs are funded separately by the US Dept. of Agriculture. Those are federal funds, not local funds, and may only be used for meal service. Meal service funds do not impact funding of other services at the school.

Why are class sizes not reduced each time the override is approved? 
The first year the override was approved class sizes were reduced. Since the override is a continuation of that funding, class sizes are maintained each time an override is approved. If not approved, class sizes would be adjusted up.
 
What do the override funds cover?
  • Competitive teacher salaries to retain highly-qualified staff
  • Math and Reading Interventionists and Teaching and Learning Specialists to provide additional student support
  • Maintain manageable class sizes (120+ teachers)
  • Salaries for special area teachers for Arts and PE and coaching stipends for Athletics
  • 30 Kindergarten teachers so Dysart can continue to offer all-day Kindergarten

What will happen if the override does not pass?
The district will be required to cut ⅓ of the current override. Programs would be cut, class sizes enlarged, etc. Property taxes would go down about  50 cents per $100 of assessed home value

Why should all residents care about school funding, even if they don’t have school-aged children?
  • We all want to invest in our quality of life
    • Quality schools protect property values and reduce crime.
  • Good schools attract jobs and economic opportunities
    • Businesses want to locate in communities with safe, well-maintained schools, small classes sizes and modern technology.
  • Schools play a key role in training the future workforce
    • Ability to educate a quality, competitive workforce supports an area’s long-term success
  • Better schools make better communities
    • Dysart provides quality, competitive education to our community
      • 17 schools hold an A or B rating from the state
      • 93% graduation rate
 
How much will my taxes increase if the override passes?
No Tax Increase. An override has been in place in Dysart since 2000. The election is a continuation of the current override.

Why don’t charter schools always have to go out for elections for extra funding?
Charter schools get more funding from the state than school districts. Charter schools are also funded by taxes (State General Fund.) Charter schools can spend extra tax dollars without voter approval.

Why do you keep having to come back to voters for approval of Override funds?
Overrides are approved for a period of seven years, but start phasing out in year five unless a continuation is approved by voters. 

Are teacher salaries included in the election?
Teachers and staff are partially funded by the override.