No-Tax Increase Bonds Would Fund New High School and Elementary School
Voters in the Deer Valley Unified School District will have a say on two important ballot questions in the Nov. 7 election.
Following a recommendation by a Bond/Override Citizen Advisory Committee, at its May 9 meeting, DVUSD’s Governing Board agreed to place the bond questions in the hands of the voters.
One would renew a Maintenance and Operations (M&O) override, which is a homeowner tax already in place to help the district fund basic needs not fully funded by the state. The other would determine the fate of the district’s next new high school and elementary school, along with improvements to existing schools.
Neither ballot request would result in tax increases. Structuring the repayment of its debt will enable the district to keep the levy level and take the burden off the taxpayers.
“This has been accomplished by aggressively paying off debt from previous bond sales to allow for the opportunity to seek these new bond funds to meet the growing needs of our District without creating a financial burden to our taxpayers,” Migliorino told Valley Vibe.
At its May 9 meeting, DVUSD Superintendent Curtis Finch said the district has intentionally split the bond questions into parts to make sure it can offer a level levy and stay in front of the growth.
The M&O Tax
This override has been in place for several decades at DVUSD and comparable school districts in the state and generates annual additional revenue to make up for state-imposed reductions in funding. M&O overrides expire every five years and require voter approval.
A “yes” vote would approve the continuation of the district’s existing Maintenance and Operations 15 percent budget override, last approved in 2019. The cost of the override for homeowners is a continuation of roughly $21.27 per month in property tax on the average assessed value of homes within the district.
If approved, funds will be used for the following:
- Attract and retain highly qualified teachers
(current override provides 8.5 percent of employee salaries)
- Preserve fine arts, elective courses and athletic programs (art, music, band, and physical education)
- Maintain class sizes
- Provide counselors
- Provide free full-day kindergarten
If the override fails to pass, the district will be tasked with difficult budget cuts, directly impacting students.
A Special Bond Election in the amount of $325 million would fund safety, security, instructional resources, technology, building renewal, conservation, buses and student growth through the year 2029. This bond is also a continuation of the tax already being assessed from the 2019 Special Bond Authorization.
The estimated average cost to homeowners is a continuation of roughly $15.12 per month in property tax on the average assessed value of homes within the district.
If approved, bond would fund the following:
- New K-8 elementary school
- New high school (Phase 1: classroom buildings, gym and administrative buildings)
(Future phases would include an auxiliary gym and performing arts building, not funded by this bond.)
- Building Renovations
Furniture, Fixture and Equipment Replacement
Bus replacements and additions
Building Improvements (Replacements/upgrades, safety/security, extracurricular improvements)
By Karen Goveia