Casa Grande, AZ

Casa Grande school districts discuss next budget override election

Alexis Young
School bus.Getty Images.

By Alexis Young / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ

(Pinal County, AZ) — Though Pinal County is projected to experience an economic boom overall, Casa Grande school districts are discussing budget overrides. Casa Grande Dispatch recounted Casa Grande Elementary School District’s board meeting, last week on May 10. Villago Middle School Principal Jeff Lavender delivered a presentation on the importance and rationale of budget override proposals. NewsBreak could not access footage from the meeting, reporters from Casa Grande Dispatch recapped the proceedings.

Budget overrides can be granted at 10% or 15%, Lavender explained that keeping the override at 10% keeps homeowners from higher taxes. 

According to Lavender and PinalCentral, “if the override election is not approved by November 2023 that the district’s funding would face cuts of a combined total of approximately $4.1 million. These cuts would occur over a period from the 2024-25 fiscal year to 2026-27 in increments of $1.36 million until there would be no budget override.”

Casa Grande Dispatch revealed that residents pay $72 “per $100,000 of home value” annually. The average value of homes in CGESD is $122,600. Which means residents are currently paying an annual fee of almost $90 on the 2021-22 budget override.

Lavender’s presentation and the board meeting were held to advocate for the overrides addition to the November 8 ballot. Despite close calls against CGESD’s budget override approval in 2013 and 2018 Lavender cited success for five previous budget overrides. 

“‘Our district is growing and we are in a very competitive market to find teachers,’’ said Lavender to PinalCentral. “‘Continuing to be competitive is crucial for our students.’”

By the time the board had approved the override’s spot on the ballot, Lavender had already outlined next steps. 

The article reported that the board must create an informational pamphlet for voters, draft a ballot's sample question as well as a letter of support with a maximum word count of 200. Pamphlet will include ten or less pros and cons from voters and shall be mailed out over a month before the elections. If the school district tries to sway voters one way or another they could be fined $5,000 per offense.

CGESD will revisit the matter in June but Casa Grande Union High School District will broach the subject in a meeting on Tuesday, May 17 at 5:30p.m. in the District Office Board Room. 

Maybe the aftermath of Pinal County’s projected boom will make budget overrides obsolete in years to come, only time will tell. 

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