Approximately 30 people attended a community forum focused on the AJUSD Capital Bond and DAA (capital) Override at the Gold Canyon Community Church on Thursday, Sept. 26. Glenn Walp, president of ADOBE, opened, discussing the many ways that schools have changed since he was young. Changes in safety concerns, technology, the body of knowledge students are expected to learn and the requirements for future career opportunities and social responsibility all played a part in his decision to support the AJUSD override and bond propositions.
Dr. Krista Anderson then spoke. Her presentation reviewed the development of the district’s strategic goals since she assumed her role as AJUSD superintendent in 2017. The goals, developed by district administrators and the Governing Board, identify specific areas of concern, plans to address those concerns and markers to track the district’s progress.
As an aside, Dr. Anderson teased the results of the currently embargoed school letter grades, which will be released by the state in early November. "I can't give any specifics yet, but we saw some significant improvement this past year, including at least one school letter grade change."
She then gave an overview of district finances, emphasizing reports from the Attorney General’s office that verify a long history of excellence in financial reporting and sound fiscal management.
Anderson then explained how the district decided to go out for an election this year. A Superintendent’s Advisory Council comprised of 25 community members and four representatives from district staff, studied the issues and made the recommendation to the Governing Board on May 28, 2019, to pursue both a Capital Bond and a DAA (capital) Override.
The presentation also listed specific needs that the two ballot measures would address. These projects are listed in the voter pamphlet. By law, the district cannot utilize bond or override proceeds for any projects that are not specified in the pamphlet. The ballot language also mandates the formation of a Community Oversight Committee whose responsibility will be to oversee bond projects and capital allocations and expenditures, as well as monitoring School Facilities Board grant applications to ensure the maximum effectiveness of taxpayer monies.
The Oversight Committee will consist of 15 members, including six district representatives and nine community members.
The floor was then opened for questions. A few of the questions asked were:
Q: This is an all-mail ballot, but I’m not on the Early Voter List. Will I get a ballot?
A: Yes! All registered voters will receive a ballot by mail on or shortly after October 9. Ballots can be returned by mail or dropped off at the County Recorder's Office.
Q: What is AJUSD’s Bond Rating?
Q: How much is the DAA Override for?
A: The override verbiage includes a $2 million cap on a maximum 10% budget override annually for 7 years. The $2 million cap is a little less than 10% of the current budget; however if funding should change, then the lesser of the two amounts will be applied.
Q: How do I calculate how much my taxes will increase to support the bond and override?
A: The key to correctly calculating the amount of tax generated by the bond and override is starting with the correct home value. The formula is based on the ASSESSED LPV (Limited Property Value), which can be found on the statement recently mailed to all property owners by the County Treasurer. Be sure to look for the specific wording: "Assessed LPV."
It can also be found online: http://www.pinalcountyaz.gov/Assessor/Pages/ParcelSearch.aspx. The page allows you to look up the property by address or owner’s name. Once your personal information is entered, the information for your property will download. The "Assessed LPV" is at the bottom of the page.
Formulas to Calculate Individual Taxpayer Burden:
Bond: (ASSESSED LPV x $1.13) ÷ $100 = average annual tax
Override: (ASSESSED LPV x $0.46) ÷ $100 = estimated tax
Q: The District just sold a school building for $1.8 million. Why can’t that money be used to meet the most urgent needs?
A: It can. In fact, proceeds from the sale can only be used for Capital Outlay. The problem, of course, is that $1.8 million is much, much less than what is needed, even for the most essential items on the “to do” list.
AJUSD School Tours and Community Forums Scheduled to Discuss Bond & DAA Override
Campus Tours (45 min)
- Peralta Trail Elementary: Oct. 7, 2:00 to 2:45 p.m.
- Apache Junction High School: Oct. 17, 5:00 to 5:45 p.m.
- Cactus Canyon Junior High: Oct. 24, 5:00 to 5:45 p.m.
- Gold Canyon Republican Club at MountainBrook Village: Oct. 12, 9 a.m.
- Apache Junction City Council Meeting: Oct. 15, 7 p.m. (10 minutes)
- Community Forum, AJUSD Board Rm. 10/17, 6:00 p.m.
- ADOBE at Best Western, Gold Canyon: 10/17, 6:30 p.m.
- Northern Pinal Democrats, Mountainview Lutheran Church, 6 p.m.