jobs, class size hang in balance may 18, officials say
by angela de welles and t***ance thornton
on may 18 arizona voters will be asked to decide on a one cent-sales tax increase that
east valley school district officials say is critical to retaining employees, quality
educational environments and ensuring manageable class sizes.
if proposition 100 is approved, a temporary, one-cent sales tax would be levied and
collected starting june 1, 2010. according to what is proposed, the tax would be repealed
in may 2013.
according to election information, two-thirds of the revenue will go to primary and
secondary education. the rest would be directed to health and human services and public
a news release from gov. jan brewer's web site states the one-cent sales tax will
generate $1 billion in additional revenue each year it is in place.
while proposition 100 will help east valley school districts stave off some budget
reductions to their operational budgets next fiscal year, — decreases will come — but
how deep those cuts will be depend on the outcome of the proposition 100 vote, school
a compounding factor is some east valley school districts are dealing with significant
drops in enrollment, which in turn, shaves the piece of the financial pie divided up by the
where do you stand on this issue?
do you support proposition 100? are you opposed? we want to hear from you. go to
www.newszap.com find your com-munity, then go to the local public forum and let your
voice be heard on this important topic.
every school district in arizona is facing the same issue — decreases to state funding —
and while changes have been made, the worst may still be coming, according to chuck
essigs, arizona association of school business officials director of government
relations. "that is going to force significant changes to how schools operate," mr. essigs
said in an april 27 phone interview of the repercussions following a proposition 100
defeat. "schools are a people business; it very quickly impacts employees."
the arizona association of school business officials is an organization made up of
about 1,500 people with administration positions in arizona school districts, mr. essigs
"we provide information on the finance laws and the legislation effecting the operations
of a school district," he explained.
according to a report gathered by mr. essigs, and available at www.aasbo.org, dollars to
school districts generated from proposition 100 in fiscal year 2010 are estimated to total
"it is not a little hiccup it is a major impact on schools if that sales tax election is not
successful," mr. essigs pointed out.
even if proposition 100 is approved, according to the report, arizona school districts are
facing $352,178,140 worth of reductions to state funding.
"this is not going to get better next year. the misconception is that this is additional
money; there is not a penny for additional programs," mr. essigs explained. "it is to
prevent future cuts. it is startling to see how bad things have gotten and how fast they got
the financial issues faced by arizona school district revolve around drops in student
enrollment and decreases in state funding, which is the result of the current economic
recession, mr. essigs said.
"there is no way that schools can be spared from reductions," he said. "it just happened
so quickly and the dip is far below what we have faced before."
mesa unified school district
the mesa unified school district, regardless if proposition 100 passes, is faced with a
$25 million budget gap next fiscal year, but if the sales-tax measure is not approved that
number could swell to more than $50 million, according to musd spokeswoman kathy
"this is in addition to $60 million in budget cuts over the last two years," she explained
april 26 in a written response to emailed questions of fiscal years 2008-09 and 2009-10.
in fiscal year 2009-10 musd has an all-funds budget of $375,132,387 and has 65,550
students according to the aasbo budget impact report.
state funding for arizona school districts are based on average daily membership, which
is an enrollment tally taken after the first 100 days of the school year, ms. bareiss said.
"mesa public schools provides staff — teachers, office workers and aides — supplies
and equipment to the schools based on the site enrollment," she pointed out.
coupled with cuts to state funding for full-day kindergarten and soft capital, which is
what school districts use to purchase the items in the classroom, musd is facing a
significant reduction in student enrollment, according to g***ick monroe, musd
assistant superintendent of business and support services.
"if proposition 100 is not supported it will have significant impacts on the services, the
programs we provide, the employees and the communities we support," he said in an
april 28 phone interview. "i
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