This M&O override is simply a continuation and maintains the current level of funding; there is no increase to taxpayers. The Maintenance and Operations budget of school districts is their main operating fund. There are different funds for various uses in school district budgets and money cannot be transferred between those funds. Nearly 90% of the M&O budget is used for salaries and benefits for our employees. Any decrease in the M&O budget will affect staffing and class sizes.
The override will:
If the Override fails, aren’t there other places that DVUSD can cut the budget?
No. The recession has been tough on everyone, and schools are no exception. The State has cut education funding by 21% since 2008. DVUSD’s budget has been reduced by nearly ? million. The District has made every effort to keep the necessary cuts away from kids and classrooms, but those opportunities have been exhausted. There is no fat left to trim or belts left to tighten. The loss of override funding will mean bigger classes, fewer teachers, and fewer program options for our students.
Aren't the schools getting money from the recent funding lawsuit ruling?
The funding lawsuit was a big win for Arizona public schools but it is unclear when that money will be distributed. The ruling carries out the findings of the Arizona Supreme Court, which last fall determined the Legislature failed to honor the direction voters gave in 2000, when they approved a ballot measure calling for annual inflation adjustments to the school-funding formula. The Legislature failed to provide that funding for four years, citing the strains of the recession, triggering a lawsuit on behalf of school districts. Judge Cooper ruled that Arizona public schools are to get $317 million in new funding next year, after the case was referred to her following the state Supreme Court decision. Even with the extra $317 million, the schools are still shy of the $3,776 per student in base funding the state provided in 2008, before the Great Recession sent state tax collections plummeting. In addition, she ruled the state must pay the money they have withheld from public/charter schools the past four years and determined that payments totaling $1.6 billion over the next five years would reset the starting point for per-student school funding.
Unfortunately, 2 days after the ruling, Governor Brewer announced that the state is appealing Judge Cooper's decision. It is not likely that the schools will see this funding anytime soon.
I do not have children in DVUSD . . . why should I support the override?
There are a few answers to this question! First, if you own property within the SUSD boundaries, your property value is directly and significantly affected by the quality of DVUSD schools. DVUSD is an excelling district - earning an A from the State every year that the letter grading system has been in place. When it comes to your property value, the selling point of a house is that a strong and successful public school option is available at every level. A future buyer may choose to send their child to an DVUSD school or a charter school or a private school - it doesn’t matter. The DVUSD system is what impacts our property values, and the override matters.
Second, if you work here or hope that your children work here someday, the override matters. Strong public schools factor into economic development and improved competitiveness in a few ways . . . knowledge based employers want to come here when there are good schools available for employees' kids and there are good future employees coming out of our schools. This matters, and contributes greatly to our economic vitality and opportunity. If you want our community to be competitive in an ever-more-competitive world, the override matters.
Third, if you have children who attend charter or private schools, the override matters. It certainly matters for the two reasons above. Further, it matters because overrides work as a sustained commitment. We can’t efficiently start and stop them when they serve our individual needs. If you have chosen other schools for your young children, consider how important it is to ensure the quality of SUSD high schools in the future. We choose different schools for different kids based on different needs, and preserving the high quality of all of our public schools and keeping them as a viable option for all is important.
Finally, approximately 85% of Arizona schoolchildren are educated in traditional public schools. Ensuring the quality of these schools through local support and investment is simply the right thing to do.