Override talk is heating up again.
Maricopa Unified School District’s Override Recommendation Committee met twice in September. The governing board will see the resulting recommendations at its meeting Wednesday.
It is on the agenda as an information item.
The last election on a budget override proposal was in 2014. Maricopa voters rejected it by more than 700 votes. The district’s previous override of 10 percent expired in 2012.
In his report to the board this week, Superintendent Steve Chestnut said the Override Recommendation Committee was tasked with determining whether to attempt another override and, if so, when and in what terms.
“The general consensus from that meeting [Sept. 3] was that the term should be seven years for 15 percent,” he said.
Whether such an election should be in 2016 or 2017 remained up in the air through the second meeting of the 12-person committee on Sept. 17.
“The committee agreed that it would be worthwhile to discuss this issue with professional consultants to get their opinion on this issue,” Chestnut reported.
Chestnut said state funding for K-12 education has been cut 24 percent since 2008. He said Maricopa needs the budget override to provide more opportunities for students and to be competitive with other districts.
“Currently, 1,500 students who live in Maricopa attend the Kyrene and Tempe districts,” Chestnut said. “Kyrene has a 15 percent override in place and Tempe’s is 10 percent.”
Items suggested for budget-override funding include reducing class sizes, adding foreign languages and alleviating scheduled state cuts in Career and Technology Education courses.
Override Recommendation Committee members are Chestnut, Scott Bartle, Patti Coutre, Chris Eldridge, Jerry Figgens, Jim Irving, Joshua Judd, Jeff Kramarczyk, Vincent Manfredi, Leon Potter and Henry Wade.
The MUSD governing board meets at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the district office, 44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway.
Also to be discussed Wednesday are legal options the school district has for selling or leasing its property near the Global Water offices. Business Services Director Aron Rausch provided a memorandum in September outlining what MUSD may do with and without voter approval.
Arizona Revised Statutes has stipulations on the sale or lease of school property and the use of any money arising from that action.
“By law, a school district must obtain electorate approval before it can sell school sites,” Chestnut said.
The property in question is 24 acres. A January estimate valued the property at $30,000 per acre, according to Land Advisers Incorporated. If the land were to sell for $720,000, Rausch estimated MUSD could put 62 percent into construction, improvement or furnishing of school facilities and the rest into reducing bonded debt.